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Bears Place Roquan Smith on PUP List amid Contract Rumors

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVJuly 27, 2022

Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Chicago Bears placed linebacker Roquan Smith on the physically unable to perform list Wednesday amid a contract dispute.

It's unclear whether Smith is actually dealing with an injury that leaves him unable to participate in training camp.

Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported Monday that Smith has no plans to participate in camp until he receives a new contract. The practice of reporting to camp but refusing to participate—colloquially known as "holding in"—has become increasingly popular among players who want to avoid the fines for a holdout.

"I want to address the Roquan Smith situation," Bears general manager Ryan Poles told reporters Tuesday. "My feelings for Roquan don't change at all. 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 gonna talk about contracts and all that. I want to make sure we addressed it, though, in terms of my feelings for him. Nothing changes."

Smith is set to make $9.7 million this season in the final year of his rookie contract. He has been a second-team All-Pro selection each of the last two years and set a career high with 163 tackles in 2021.

Contract negotiations are reportedly nowhere close to complete. Rapoport reported Smith "has not yet received an offer he would remotely consider" even though the two sides have had an entire offseason to negotiate.

Shaquille Leonard of the Indianapolis Colts is the NFL's highest-paid inside linebacker at $19.7 million annually. Leonard, Fred Warner, C.J. Mosley and Foyesade Oluokun are the only players at the position who have landed a salary of at least $15 million per season on a long-term contract.

Smith likely wants to be the fifth. Given the Bears' roster move Wednesday, it appears they don't plan on having a resolution in place anytime soon.

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