Linebacker Roquan Smith wasn’t among the rookies who arrived early to Bears training camp Monday, and the clock is ticking for Smith and the Bears to finalize his contract before Thursday’s official report date.
But there’s no reason for alarm yet. Smith, drafted out of Georgia, is one of seven NFL players selected in the top nine who has yet to sign his rookie contract. And the Bears report to camp earlier than the other six teams, on account of their participation in the Hall of Fame Game against the Ravens on Aug. 2.
The NFL’s collective bargaining agreement has made serious contract impasses a thing of the past. Disagreements typically center around “offset language,” which allows teams to recover money in the rare case a player is released and signs elsewhere.
The four-year value of Smith’s contract is expected to be about $18.5 million with a signing bonus near $11.5 million. Running back Christian McCaffrey, who was picked eighth by the Panthers last year, got a four-year deal worth $17.2 million and a signing bonus of $10.7 million.
The Bears signed their six other draft picks — guard James Daniels, receiver Anthony Miller, linebacker Joel Iyiegbuniwe, nose tackle Bilal Nichols, linebacker Kylie Fitts and receiver Javon Wims — on May 10, the eve of their rookie minicamp. Smith practiced all offseason despite not signing his deal.
Last year, the Bears didn’t sign quarterback Mitch Trubisky until July 19, one full week before they reported to camp.