Roquan Smith Noticed by Bears

Snubbed by the Pro Bowl last year, Roquan Smith has had a big week after getting his fifth-year option and receiving the Ed Block Courage Award.
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Roquan Smith hasn't gone unnoticed by everyone.

Snubbed by the Pro Bowl despite a season statistically superior to several players who made the team, Smith's fifth-year contract option for 2022 has been picked up by the Bears, as expected. Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported the move. 

It means Smith will make $9.375 million in 2022 after making $6.049 million this season. 

Smith's Pro Bowl snubbing not only cost him prestige. He could have made $3 million more on his fifth-year option because players who make the Pro Bowl once are elevated to a higher level of pay for that season.  

The fact Smith failed to make the Pro Bowl last year spoke to the popularity contest which voting has become. Players frequently make the Pro Bowl team the year after they break through. Smith made the All-Pro second team for the Associated Press, but this isn't taken into account even though it's more difficult to achieve All-Pro status.

Last season Smith was the 17th-ranked linebacker by Pro Football Focus but was No. 4 in pass coverage grade behind only Fred Warner, Eric Kendricks and Mykal Walker.

Smith last season established career highs with 139 tackles and 18 tackles for loss. He made four sacks and also had career highs of seven pass defenses and two interceptions.

Smith and Leonard Floyd are the only first-round picks whose options were picked up by the Bears since Kyle Long in 2016. Long was drafted in 2013. And the Bears cut Floyd before he even got to the fifth year. 

It caps off a big week for Smith, as he also received some recognition within the team by winning its Ed Block Courage Award. Players across the NFL vote on this award for their own team and Smith was honored with other Ed Block Courage Award winners in Baltimore. The award  supports a foundation dedicated to supporting the well-being of abused, neglected and at-risk children throughout its Courage House National Support Network for Kids.

Smith did make All-Pro second team last year after he was the only NFL player to record at least 100 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, two sacks and two interceptions. His 18 tackles for loss tied for the second most in the NFL. He was fifth in the NFL in solo tackles with 98.

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