Extending Roquan Smith’s Contract Would Only Make Sense

Kevin Fishbain at The Athletic answers your questions.

Roquan Smith has really grown into the defense’s leader, but can we justify spending the going rate ($20M/season) on an inside linebacker? Are we better off putting that money on offense to support Fields and take the comp pick? — Brian L.

I don’t think it has to be an either/or situation considering the Bears’ healthy cap situation heading into the 2023 season and beyond. If the new front office deems Smith worthy of a top-of-the-market deal for an inside linebacker, like Darius Leonard received ($19.7 million per year), it shouldn’t preclude them from making aggressive moves next offseason at wide receiver, offensive tackle, etc.

Smith is only 25, is a leader for this team, seems to love Chicago, and has been one of the best players at his position in football. We could even see more impact plays from him in the new scheme. In a vacuum, he’s the type of player an organization wants to keep around.

It bothers me that the minute the Bears find a good, young player, fans immediately want to let him go to save money and get a “compensatory pick“.

The Bears have plenty of cap space next off-season and the best way to use that space by far is the sign their own when they have players that are worthy of it. The idea is that you reward your own players, something that fosters loyalty in the player and a positive attitude throughout the team as other players know that the team will take care of them.The more you do that the less you have to dip into free agency and take a chance on other teams rejects. This is the way that franchises that compete year in and year out do it.

Roquan Smith was a first round draft pick and is performing like one. The idea that even a third round compensatory pick and cap space saved that the Bears don’t need will compensate for his loss is not a sound one. Something similar same could be said for many other young players that we can all hope that the Bears will have that will be worthy of an extension.

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