Roquan Smith‘s holdout is over.
The rookie linebacker agreed to terms on a four-year contract with the Chicago Bears on Monday. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the fully guaranteed deal is for $18 million and contains $11 million in bonuses.
Bears are giving LB Roquan Smith a four-year, guaranteed $18 million slotted deal, per the CBA. Deal should include about $11 million in form of bonuses.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 13, 2018
Chicago Bears Sign Rookie Linebacker Roquan Smith
Smith was the last rookie to remain unsigned in 2018. The biggest obstacle to him signing his rookie deal surrounded language in the contract that suggested the Bears could void some of his guaranteed money should he get suspended for a hit deemed illegal. This is a significantly relevant issue given the NFL’s new rules regarding contact with the helmet.
The Bears took the Georgia product with the eighth overall pick in this year’s draft. He was the third defensive player selected and many experts believe he can be among the league’s top rookie contributors in 2018. Smith tallied 6.5 sacks and 14 tackles for loss last year for the Bulldogs while also finishing tied for seventh in the nation with 137 tackles.
How much he can play a part on the field early on in the regular season remains to be seen. Bears head coach Matt Nagy suggested on Sunday that missing the entirety of training camp might limit Smith’s ability to be ready for the season opener against the Green Bay Packers. The defensive coaching staff is certainly in for a challenge at getting him up to speed at this point in the preseason.
Smith’s first chance to see the field comes Saturday when the Bears take on the Denver Broncos. It’s the team’s third straight preseason game away from home. They suffered narrow losses in the previous two, falling to the Baltimore Ravens 17-16 in the Hall of Fame Game followed by a 30-27 defeat to the Cincinnati Bengals.