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Bears GM Addresses Roquan Smith's Trade Request, Wants to Sign LB to New Contract

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVAugust 9, 2022

AP Photo/Paul Sancya

Chicago Bears general manager Ryan Poles wants to keep linebacker Roquan Smith, but he acknowledged in a press conference Tuesday that there's no guarantee.

"My job is to build a roster that is going to sustain success for a long period of time," Poles told reporters. "At the end of the day, we have to do what’s best for the Chicago Bears."

"Right now, my intentions are to make sure Roquan is on this team," the GM added.

The comments come in response to Smith publicly announcing a trade request earlier Tuesday, via Ian Rapoport of NFL Network:

Ian Rapoport @RapSheet

<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Bears?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Bears</a> All-Pro LB Roquan Smith has requested a trade. <a href="https://t.co/x4vmOMhROt">pic.twitter.com/x4vmOMhROt</a>

"The new front office regime doesn't value me here. They've refused to negotiate in good faith, every step of this journey has been 'take it or leave it,'" Smith said.

Poles is in his first year with the Bears, hoping to turn around an organization that has just one winning season in the last nine years. The squad went 6-11 in 2021, causing the team to replace head coach Matt Nagy and general manager Ryan Pace.

There has already been significant transformation under the new administration, with veterans Allen Robinson II, Bilal Nichols and Akiem Hicks among those leaving in free agency. Pro Bowl linebacker Khalil Mack was also traded to the Los Angeles Chargers in March.

Smith is among the few remaining proven players on the roster, earning second-team All-Pro honors in each of the last two seasons.

The 25-year-old ranked fifth in the NFL last year with 163 tackles, adding three sacks and a pick-six.

With Smith heading into the final year of his rookie contract, the Bears must decide whether to sign him to an extension, trade him or let him hit free agency next offseason.

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