Bears exercise fifth-year option on LB Roquan Smith for 2022: report

The move keeps him in place for an extra season at a fair price, but the Bears will probably try to sign him to a contract extension anyway.

SHARE Bears exercise fifth-year option on LB Roquan Smith for 2022: report
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Roquan Smith topped 100 tackles in each of his first three seasons.

Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times

This is as easy as personnel decisions get.

The Bears exercised their fifth-year option on standout linebacker Roquan Smith, NFL Network reported, and secured him for the 2022 season at a reasonable salary of $9.7 million. They made the move coming off the best season of Smith’s career, when he put up 139 tackles, four sacks, seven pass breakups, two interceptions and a forced fumble.

“I definitely feel like I’m... coming into my own, in a sense,” Smith said late last season. “But I feel like there’s also room for improvement, things I can do better or see even faster. So there’s never a time where you’re content with the way you are.”

Smith, the No. 8 overall selection in the 2018 draft, has been the best of Ryan Pace’s first round picks in six seasons as general manager. The Bears will likely look to sign him to a long-term contract extension within a year, which would make him the only one of those first-rounders to get a second contract with the Bears.

Smith’s draft class is the first to have fifth-year options guaranteed once exercised. Before that, teams could rescind the option unless the player was injured.

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