July 19, 2018 / 7:10 PM / 2 years ago

Bears top pick Smith absent as veterans report

Apr 26, 2018; Arlington, TX, USA; Roquan Smith (Georgia) is selected as the number eight overall pick to the Chicago Bears in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY

First-round pick Roquan Smith was absent Thursday when the Chicago Bears reported to training camp.

The linebacker, selected eighth overall in the NFL draft, is expected to be an immediate contributor after winning the Butkus Award at Georgia last season as college football’s top linebacker.

“We’re optimistic he’ll be here soon,” Bears general manager Ryan Pace said at the camp-opening press conference on Thursday. “We know it’s a process.”

Smith is expected to receive a four-year, $18.5 million contract plus a fifth-year option. But the two sides are apparently in disagreement over offset language in the contract, which hinges on how much money Smith would receive if released before his rookie contract ends.

“I’m sure he’s dying to be here, knowing him as a player,” Pace said.

Pace said there is “no time frame” for signing Smith.

Chicago opens the preseason on August 2 against the Baltimore Ravens in the Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio.

Smith had 137 tackles and 6.5 sacks for Georgia last season.

—Field Level Media

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