Bears LB Roquan Smith continues ‘hold-in’ as memo issues warning
The NFL Management Council sent an email to all teams warning that a man named Saint Omni was contacting teams on the player’s behalf, a source confirmed. Because he is not an NFLPA-certified agent, Omni is prohibited from negotiating contracts or trades.
Roquan Smith’s “hold-in” took another bizarre turn Monday, when, sources confirmed, the NFL management council sent an email to all 32 teams saying that a man named Saint Omni was contacting clubs on behalf of the Bears linebacker.
Omni is not an NFLPA-certified agent. As such, he’s forbidden from negotiating contracts or exploring trade interest in a player.
The memo reiterated that Smith himself was the only person who could negotiate his own contract because he does not have a certified agent.
The memo reminded teams of tampering rules, too. No team is allowed to negotiate with a player under contract somewhere else — or his NFLPA-certified agent — without written permission from the player’s employer. The Bears have not granted that right.
A story in Complex last year identified Omni as director of football at LifeLine Financial Group. The story said he “helped” tackle Laremy Tunsil negotiate a contract with the Texans. Tunsil did not have an NFLPA-certified agent in 2020 when he was in the same situation Smith finds himself in now — looking for a contract entering his fifth season. Tunsil got $66 million over three years.
Smith wants around $100 million over five years. With contract talks stalled last week, he demanded a trade, releasing a statement accusing new Bears general manager Ryan Poles of negotiating in bad faith. Poles and his staff members were “focused on taking advantage of me,” Smith claimed, before hinting that chairman George McCaskey could settle the impasse.
The Bears took Smith off the PUP list the next day, after which he continued to skip practices.
For the first time, Smith wasn’t spotted on the sideline during Monday’s practice. He stood with his teammates during Saturday’s preseason game.
At least someone considers Smith one of the league’s best. He was named one of NFL’s top players by the NFL Network’s 12th annual poll of players. He made the list for the first time in his career. He checked in at No. 84 on the list Sunday night. Running back David Montgomery ranked 98th.
The list matters to players. Last year, Smith complained about not being on it.
“Honestly, deep down, you think about it — do you think I was a top 100 player this season? I’ll let you answer that,” Smith told the Sun-Times last year. “Most people that watch ball would know that as well.”
Tight end Cole Kmet and running back David Montgomery returned to practice Monday but were limited in what they did. Wide receiver Velus Jones returned, too, though he wouldn’t say whether he planned to play in Thursday’s exhibition.
“I’m just, you know, making sure that I’m good,” he said. “That I’m staying on top of everything, my playbook, and so whenever my opportunity comes, it will.”
Jones brings the Bears’ receivers room closer to full strength, though Byron Pringle, David Moore and N’Keal Harry remain out. Tajae Sharpe was out Monday, too, after playing well Saturday.
Starting defensive tackle Justin Jones was also among the 15 players to miss practice. He played 16 snaps and served as captain Saturday.
Tight end James O’Shaugnessy and defensive end Mario Edwards returned to practice.