Bears linebacker Roquan Smith continues to “hold-in” as he seeks a brand new contract or a commerce from Chicago. 

The 25-year-old Smith has attended each spring exercise, voluntary veteran minicamp, OTAs and necessary veteran minicamp in June. He’s even been current all through coaching camp, however has but to take part in apply. 

“Hold-ins” like Smith’s have made headlines this preseason as a number of NFL stars have employed the tactic in an effort to land new offers. Los Angeles Chargers DB Derwin James is at present “holding-in” whereas Steelers receiver Diontae Johnson declined to take part till he and Pittsburgh agreed to a three-year extension.

But what’s a “hold-in” and why are gamers seemingly using this tactic greater than the normal holdout followers have seen by means of the years?

The Athletic’s workers explains beneath:

How do Smith and James’ contracts examine to their friends?

It’s arduous guilty Smith or James for his or her stance given they’ve been two of the very best defenders within the league at their respective positions since being drafted.

There’s little doubt Smith is among the many high 5 inside linebackers within the NFL. Smith’s most contract worth at present stands at $18.5 million. The high six inside linebackers carry the next most contracts, by way of Spotrac:

  • Shaquille (previously Darius) Leonard: $98.5 million
  • C.J. Mosley: $85 million
  • Zach Cunningham: $58 million
  • Deion Jones: $57 million
  • Eric Kendricks: $50 million
  • Bobby Wagner: $50 million

(Photo: Isaiah J. Downing / USA Today)

James at present ranks 30th amongst security contracts within the league, maxing out at $12.4 million. Eight safeties maintain contracts maxing out north of $50 million:

  • Minkah Fitzpatrick: $73.6 million
  • Jamal Adams: $70.6 million
  • Kevin Byard: $70.5 million
  • Marcus Williams: $70 million
  • Harrison Smith: $64 million
  • Justin Simmons: $61 million
  • Budda Baker: $59 million
  • Eddie Jackson: $58.4 million

You may argue Smith belongs among the many high three linebacker salaries, whereas James ought to slot in someplace amongst these eight safeties. 

How have the Bears dealt with the Smith scenario?

The Bears’ scenario with Smith has created an ideal storm.

It’s not so simple as what’s occurring in Los Angeles with James or in Pittsburgh final yr with T.J. Watt. It’s a first-time basic supervisor in Ryan Poles who has to concentrate on the precedent he’ll set with this contract. Additionally, Smith has determined to characterize himself, making negotiations and communication very difficult.

Then every little thing got here to a head when Smith put out a commerce demand by means of NFL Media final week, and harshly criticized the staff in doing so. Poles got here out that day to elucidate that whereas he needs to re-sign Smith, he has to do what’s finest for the Bears. Things took one other flip when it got here out Monday that Saint Omni had been reaching out to different groups to gauge commerce curiosity, one thing that isn’t allowed.

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(Photo: Robin Alam / Icon Sportswire)

The Bears put Smith on the physically-unable-to-perform record to begin camp. The day after his commerce demand, they activated him, however is not going to affirm whether or not or not he’s been fined. Smith has been at practically each apply, figuring out off to the facet with the injured gamers and alongside the sideline throughout staff drills. He was on the preseason opener. Bears coach Matt Eberflus mentioned Tuesday that Smith is engaged, and he’ll journey with the staff to Seattle.

How have the Chargers dealt with their negotiations with James?

Publicly, the Chargers have been very supportive of James throughout his hold-in.

Chargers coach Brandon Staley has repeatedly acknowledged the significance of getting these negotiations proper for James, and he has usually praised James for his management and endurance regardless of lacking the primary 14 practices of coaching camp. James has been with the staff each day. He is taking part in conferences and figuring out together with his teammates on the facility. He has been on the sphere for walkthroughs with the beginning protection earlier than each apply, and he has been going by means of agility drills with the Chargers’ sports activities efficiency workers throughout apply.

“It’d be one thing if he wasn’t here,” Staley mentioned Tuesday. “But we see him every day.”

There isn’t any obvious pressure between James and the staff. Between the staff and James’ agent, David Mulugheta? That is a barely totally different story.

How will this be resolved with the Bears and Smith?

Despite the acrimony that has been created, it’s nonetheless arduous to see the Bears not re-signing Smith. They want him for his or her protection and he generally is a foundational piece of what Poles and Eberflus need to construct. And that is most likely Smith’s finest spot to obtain a profitable contract extension. But it’d take all the way in which till Week 1 to fix issues and get a deal finished.

How will this be resolved with the Chargers and James?

A deal has to get finished earlier than the beginning of the season. James is just too necessary to the Chargers’ protection. The group can’t afford for James to overlook even one recreation, contemplating how a lot strain there’s to win in 2022.

Ownership spent some huge cash within the offseason to overtake the defensive roster, together with the commerce for Khalil Mack, when the Chargers transformed a number of the edge rusher’s base wage into an up-front signing bonus. To be that aggressive within the offseason, just for the staff’s finest defensive participant to overlook time over a contract dispute? That simply doesn’t match up. One facet of going to must budge. And it looks like James has extra leverage on this scenario.

(Photo: Robin Alam / Icon Sportswire by way of Getty Images)

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