Bears linebacker Roquan Smith, currently a "hold-in" at training camp, has formally requested a trade.
In a letter submitted over Twitter via NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, Smith accused Bears GM Ryan Poles of negotiating a contract extension in bad faith and wants out of Chicago.
There has been no response from the Bears, but they will hold a regular press conference with coach Matt Eberflus at Soldier Field after today's 11 a.m. Family Fest practice.
Smith does not have an agent for his negotiations. He has been attending practice and has been in meetings while trying to get a contract extension since training camp started, but hasn't practiced.
"To the city of Chicago and all the Bears Fans worldwide,
I have officially requested a trade; just writing these words is deeply painful.
I'm a kid from Macon County, Georgia. When you grow up playing football, you dream of making it to the NFL one day. However, playing the Linebacker position, you NEVER imagine getting drafted in the Top 10 by the Chicago Bears! I'm a HOMEGROWN Bear! A dream come true for me to have an opportunity to put that Bears' helmet on, wear the same jersey that the legendary LB's did, it's an indescribable feeling.
Walking these hallways the past four years, you can feel the spirit, you feel the pressure to live up to that timeless history, that great legacy. I dreamed of playing like Wilbur (sp.) Marshall, Singletary, Briggs, Urlacher, Butkus! Since the day I was drafted, I vowed to play this position at a level that upheld the standard that was set before me, to up hold that respect and honor, and I have.
Unfortunately, the new front office regime doesn't value me here. They've refused to negotiate in good faith, every step of this journey has been "take it or leave it." The deal sent to me is one that would be bad for myself, and for the entire LB market if I signed it. I've been trying to get something done that's fair since April, but their focus has been on trying to take advantage of me.
I wanted to be a Bear for my entire career, help this team bring a super bowl back to our city. However, they have left me no choice than to request a trade that allows me to play for an organization that truly values what I bring to the table.
I haven't had the chance to talk to the McCaskey family, and maybe they can salvage this, but as of right now I don't see a path back to the organization I truly love.
I hope and pray you all can understand, I'm deeply sorry it's come to this.
Rapoport also tweeted that Smith has lost trust in the Bears because they have tried to offer him a backloaded deal which wouldn't make him highest paid linebacker in salary, and included de-escalator clauses that no non-quarterback has among players who make $15 million or more.
"He was offended," Rapoport tweeted.
Rapoport said Smith believes the deal, if accepted as offered, would actually hurt all linebackers.
Smith attended all offseason work, voluntary and mandatory, but has not practiced since training camp started.
The challenge by Smith is for Poles, who has yet another problem on his plate.
Smith has never been in the Pro Bowl. He made second-team Pro Bowl each of the last two seasons, and the Bears have been using Matthew Adams as a backup.
Poles' first year as GM has been plagued by Larry Ogunjobi's failed physical in free agency, three arrests of players and an inability to bring in higher quality pass catcher for Justin Fields.
Board chairman George McCaskey had praised Smith as a player who deserved recognition at season's end when he fired former coach Matt Nagy and GM Ryan Pace. So perhaps Smith is counting on pressure from the owner the help, but it was also McCaskey who has hired Poles and has been behind his GM throughout a volatile offseason as the Bears have entered the first year of a rebuild.
Smith, who is 25, has a contract through this season and the Bears could franchise-tag him next season if he never comes to terms.
Smith and Ray Lewis are the only two linebackers since tackles were an official NFL stat to have 300 total tackles and 30 tackles for loss over consecutive seasons.
This is hardly the first difficult extension situation this offseason in the NFL. 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel did something similar, though not quite as dramatic as holding in and then going public. But Samuel has representation.