August 13, 2018 / 9:11 PM / 4 months ago

Reports: Bears finalizing contract with first-round LB Smith

FILE PHOTO: Jan 6, 2018; Atlanta, GA, USA; Georgia Bulldogs linebacker Roquan Smith (3) speaks during media day at Philips Arena. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Bears are finalizing a rookie contract with first-round pick Roquan Smith and the linebacker is expected to end his holdout later Monday, according to multiple reports.

ESPN reports the sides are working to finish the deal by the end of Monday, while ProFootballTalk reports there are “still some kinks” to be worked out. The four-year deal will be worth $18 million, fully guaranteed, with a signing bonus of about $11 million. Like all rookie deals, it will include a fifth-year team option.

Smith, who the Bears took eighth overall out of Georgia in April’s draft, has yet to report to training camp as the sides have been unable to reach a deal. Chicago rookies reported on July 16, with veterans arriving three days later.

According to multiple reports over the last few weeks, the sticking point in negotiations has been the language regarding the possible voiding of guarantees in the event that Smith is disciplined by the league. Smith’s representatives were known to be seeking insurance that any punishment for on-field conduct — such as a suspension for violating the league’s new helmet rule — would not void any of the linebacker’s guarantees.

All but two of this year’s 32 first-round picks signed their entry-level contracts before their teams’ respective training camps began. New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold, the third overall pick, held out briefly before signing his deal and reporting on July 31.

The Bears have played two of their five preseason games and will visit the Denver Broncos this week for joint practices on Wednesday and Thursday before Saturday’s game.

Smith is expected to compete for a starting job immediately, despite his lengthy absence.

“We drafted him for a lot of reasons,” general manager Ryan Pace said earlier in camp. “But one of the reasons was his football makeup and his football intelligence. Which is really off the charts. So he’s a guy who picks things up quickly.”

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