The Chicago Bears started a new era in 2022. They made major changes to their front office and coaching staff, as general manager Ryan Pace and head coach Matt Nagy were both relieved of their duties. In their places, Ryan Poles is taking over as general manager and Matt Eberflus is the new head coach.
They will have a tall task turning around a Bears franchise that has one of the weaker rosters in the NFL and had some salary cap issues heading into the offseason. Poles did a good job navigating that, trading away veterans for some draft capital to replenish the roster.
There is still plenty of work to do, but at least they seem to have a plan in place. Whether or not that plan included trading linebacker Roquan Smith is anyone’s guess. However, that is now something that they have to deal with as Smith publicly requested a trade earlier this week.
While there is nothing wrong with that, as players do it frequently, some head-scratching things are going on behind the scenes. Smith does not have an agent as he represents himself, which has led to a potentially awkward situation.
According to a league source, someone has been posing as representation for Smith to gauge trade interest around the league. This is potentially a huge problem as the person making these calls is not an NFLPA-certified agent, so he cannot be representing any player within the NFLPA.
In addition to that, the Bears have not given Smith permission to seek a trade. As a result, there could be some serious tampering charges brought against any team that has spoken to this person and attempts to acquire Smith via trade. That would fall under impermissible contact, which is what the Miami Dolphins were just hit with in regards to tampering with Tom Brady and Sean Payton.
The Dolphins were docked a first and third-round pick, while suspensions and fines were handed out to owner Stephen Ross and vice chairman/limited partner Bruce Beal. Similar repercussions could face a team that is roped into this, but this is unprecedented territory.
Smith is not represented and someone is trying to drum up trade interest in him when he has not been permitted to do so by the Bears. He is seeking a new contract to replace his fifth-year option and has been present at training camp but not taking part in practice.