LAKE FOREST – Bears veteran defenders Roquan Smith and Robert Quinn are both present at Bears training camp, but it remains unclear if either player will participate when practice begins Wednesday at Halas Hall.
Smith, a fifth-year linebacker, is not expected to practice as he works out a new contract with the team. He’s in the final year of his rookie contract and is slated to make $9.7 million this season. Compared to some of his peers at the position, he is vastly underpaid.
Quinn, a 12th-year veteran who led the team in sacks last season, did not participate in the spring practice periods. There was much speculation that the Pro Bowl pass rusher might be seeking a trade to a team more likely to contend for a playoff spot. Quinn, however, has never explicitly said that.
Bears general manager Ryan Poles declined to elaborate much on either player’s situation when he met with the media Tuesday. Asked if Quinn requested a trade, Poles said they haven’t talked about it.
“I haven’t had that conversation with him,” Poles said. “I would hope that he wants to be here, so nothing’s changed on that front.”
As for Smith, he appears unlikely to practice until a new contract is worked out. How long that could drag on for is unclear.
“My feelings for Roquan don’t change at all,” Poles said. “I love the player and the person and that won’t change. The one thing I will ask everyone here, I know I am going to get a lot of questions and I get it, I’m just not going to talk about contracts and all that. I want to just make sure we addressed it, though, in terms of my feelings for him, nothing changes.”
It remains unclear if Smith has hired an agent or if he is representing himself. He has not had an agent for several years.
“I’m not gonna talk about that,” Poles said when asked specifically about it.
The NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported on Monday that Smith had not received an offer “remotely” close to what he was seeking.
In recent years, some of Smith’s contemporaries have netted huge contracts. Indianapolis’ Darius Leonard (who announced Tuesday that he will now go by his middle name, Shaquille) and San Francisco’s Fred Warner – who were both drafted in 2018 with Smith – inked extension that were worth more than $90 million in total and more than $19 million per season.
Smith is likely seeking similar money, if not more. He was drafted ahead of both those players and has been a second-team All-Pro performer each of the past two seasons.
“A leader, obviously a really good player,” Bears head coach Matt Eberflus said. “He’s put some good snaps out there, he’s played a ton of football and some really good football. So, we feel the same about that. That’s not going to change, and we anticipate that going forward, too.”