The offseason saga between Roquan Smith and the Bears took a bizarre turn on Monday when the NFL management council sent a memo to all 32 teams, revealing that a non-NFLPA-certified agent has been reaching out to clubs on behalf of the former first-round pick.
According to a copy of the memo obtained by ESPN, the NFL players association informed the management council “that a person by the name of Saint Omni, who is not an NFLPA certified agent, is contacting clubs indicating that he is representing Roquan Smith, who is under contract to the Chicago Bears.”
The memo continues by saying, “Mr. Omni is prohibited from negotiating player contracts or discussing potential trades on behalf of any NFL player or prospective player or assisting in or advising with respect to such negotiations.”
Smith is currently not registered as a client of any NFLPA-certified agent, according to ESPN.
Smith requested a trade out of Chicago last Tuesday after contract extension negotiations between the fifth-year player and the franchise stalled out. The 25-year-old linebacker released a statement through NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport in which he said the Bears’ new leadership group “doesn’t value” him appropriately.
“They’ve refused to negotiate in good faith, every step of this journey has been ‘take it or leave it,’” Smith said. “The deal sent to me is one that would be bad for myself, and for the entire LB market if I signed it. I’ve been trying to get something done that’s fair since April, but their focus has been on trying to take advantage of me.”
Despite the star linebacker’s trade request, Bears general manager Ryan Poles said that team has no intention of trading Smith.
“Right now, my intention is to sign Roquan to this team,” Poles said. “We’re gonna take it day by day and at the end of the day we got to do what’s best for the organization. But my intentions are to make sure Roquan Smith is on this team.”
The Bears took Smith off the physically unable to perform (PUP) list last Wednesday, a move that will allow the franchise to fine the linebacker $40,000 for not practicing while he awaits a new contract or a trade. A two-time second-team All-Pro, Smith is currently set to play the final year of his rookie contract in 2022 with a salary of $9.7 million.
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