We now have new information regarding the Roquan Smith holdout. Is this something that the Chicago Bears should be bent out of shape over?
As we are approaching two full weeks without Roquan Smith, we have kept our opinion on the situation somewhat limited. It is tough to decipher whether “offset language” is worth fighting for on either side without knowing what the “language” actually is. However, after practice today Matt Nagy was able to provide some context to the “language.”
For some who may not understand why this is a big deal to Roquan Smith, it comes down to guarantees. If Smith is suspended due to a lowering the helmet rule, the Chicago Bears would not owe Smith any guaranteed money. He could be let go at any time. Smith is fighting to make sure that he would still get that guaranteed money even if he fell on the wrong side of the new helmet rule.
The Bears are playing this like a prudent organization would. Any loophole in which they can get out of guaranteed money is a bargaining chip that they want on their side of the table. However, from Smith’s point of view, this can very quickly come off as looking selfish.
It shows a lack of faith in Smith as a player. They are already making sure that they can have every advantage on their side to get out of his deal?
Sure, you could say that on the other side, if Smith is confident in his play, he should not be too bent out of shape from the guarantees, or the rule. Still, when it comes to the helmet rule, there indeed is no precedent. This is year one of this rule.
Nobody knows how this rule will be implemented yet. Nobody even knows if the rule will hold. Let’s say Smith falls victim to the rule because a ball was thrown too low for a receiver and he dove into Smiths helmet.
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The next year, the rule changes and Smiths suspension would have just been a penalty. Is it fair that two years later the Bears can use the suspension on a questionable call and rule to get out of a contract and money that they told Smith was guaranteed?
If Smith was breaking team rules and showed up out of shape and earned a suspension, you can start talking about taking away his guaranteed money due to suspensions. However, NFL coaches and players said that they do not know how to interpret this rule yet. Smith does not understand the interpretation either and does not feel as though life-changing money should be put on the line because one referee has a wrong understanding of the rule.
Like I said, I get it, it is a business like move for the Chicago Bears. It is savvy and prudent. However, in this case, they need to stand down. Do not fret over losing guaranteed money, and do not look for a loophole such as a low tackle to get out of it. If Smith fails in the NFL, they will likely find a way to figure out how to over come it. Get Smith in camp, and show him that you are not looking for a loop hole at every turn to get rid of him.