The Roquan Smith saga playing out in Chicago added a bizarre new chapter on Friday.
Days after the 25-year-old linebacker requested a trade from the Bears amid lingering contract issues, a person claiming to represent Smith has been calling teams to test the temperature of the trade market, according to Pro Football Talk, citing a league source.
This development adds another layer of mess to an already tangled web, as the individual in question making the calls is not certified by the NFL Players Association as an agent. What’s more, Smith — who is representing himself — has not received the green light to seek a trade.
Smith, the Bears’ eighth overall pick in 2018, voiced his frustrations with the team on Tuesday in a lengthy message shared on social media by NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
“I have officially requested a trade; just writing these words is deeply painful,” Smith wrote.
“Unfortunately, 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 further alleged that he’s “been trying to get something done that’s fair since April, but their focus has been on trying to take advantage of me.”
The Bears hired former Chiefs exec Ryan Poles to replace Ryan Pace as general manager earlier this year. One day after Smith expressed his desire to move on from the Bears, the team removed him from the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list. Should Smith miss practice, Chicago brass has the right to fine him.
Smith, who is entering the final year of his rookie contract, has been at training camp but hasn’t been practicing.