Put your hand up if you like Roquan Smith. Seriously, even though you’re reading this on a screen do it! If you did, I love the dedication; If you didn’t then you need to fix up, because everybody should be putting their hands up for Roquan Smith.
The Bears drafted inside linebacker Smith in the first round of the 2018 NFL draft with the 8th overall pick, after he left Georgia in 2017 as SEC defensive player of the year and MVP of the SEC championship game. That is some resume to have; and one that adds a lot of pressure from just the weight of the expectation.
But boy-oh-boy do we not have to worry because Smith has turned into everything we want him to be. He is fast across the grass, aggressive and strong in the tackle, reads the game well and leads by example. Don’t take my word for it, check out his stats, they speak for themselves.
Since being drafted in 2018 to the end of 2020 season, Roquan Smith played 45 times, was involved in 368 tackles, had 11 sacks, 15 pass deflections and 4 interceptions – this is including him being out injured after tearing his pectoral muscle in 2019. The man was even a pro-bowler in his rookie season and in 2020 was selected to the All-Pro team… I mean come on!
Fast forward to now, he was one of the glimmering hopes after that week 1 battering from the LA Rams and was a game winner this his interception-cum-touchdown return against the Bengals.
The Bears took up his 5th year option (obviously) in order to keep him on that rookie money, but at the end of this season there is no more road to use. It’s either we sign him up or let him go; so let’s get it done!
ROQUAN SMITH NEEDS TYING DOWN ASAP
And it makes sense to get it done sooner rather than later, to keep watchful eyes from turning into prying hands. The longer the Bears leave giving Roquan a new deal, he will have more time on the field and will no doubt have more standout performances. That’s only going to alert other teams to look at him, if they aren’t already.
And more people looking at Roquan Smith (which he is worthy of) means that he can have the pick of the bunch or, even more simply, will want more money. He is worth the money and I want us to pay him, but there is something that we need to take into consideration that weighs down on us all… … The Salary Cap.
The sooner we can get a deal done, the cheaper I believe a deal will be and that can only be a good thing with the Salary Cap issues the way they are for us in 2022.
A few examples – Nick Foles taking a cap space of $10.6million and even if he was cut (pre-June 1st) a dead cap of $7million; Jimmy Graham is taking $4.6million for his limited snaps and Andy Dalton will cost us $5million even though he isn’t on the team.
Not to mention players such as Akiem Hicks and Allen Robinson won’t be contracted to us, meaning that we need to factor in the money they want into the equation or the relevant wage for equivalent quality. And it poses the question, what is the best thing to do? Who do we sign and who do we let go?
Personally, I would focus on a strong defense. With Justin Fields’ his potential, we could get by with cheaper and more solid WRs – or even draft picks. We have Borom and Jenkins signed up to rookie deals to help the OL and Kmet on a rookie deal to help the TE rooms (TEs aren’t the most expensive of beasts).
A strong defense, with good chemistry, quality and a familiarity that we have is hard to come by. Looking at Week 1 you can see what havoc a defense can wreak on your team if they aren’t playing well; whilst on the flip side you can see the game winning ability that a coherent and firing defense can have like in Week 2.
And part of that defense? Roquan Smith. The loss of Kyle Fuller was big, but with Roquan Smith doing his thing we may not feel it as hard. What would it be like if he was to go too? I wouldn’t want to find out.
Sign him up Pace, give him his money, and let the good times Roll-quan… (Too much?)