The Chicago Bears opened training camp over two weeks ago and have a preseason game this week, but Roquan Smith is still nowhere to be found. The No. 8 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft is the only rookie unsigned and the reason why is as obnoxious as it is baffling.
Nearly two months ago, the NFL came out with a new 'Use of Helmet' rule, which could result in ejection from a game. Now, the interpretation and possible impact of the rule in his new contract is holding up the game-changing linebacker from seeing the gridiron.
The Bears and Smith are fighting over the language to when, and if, his guaranteed money could be voided if he draws a suspension for the rule that has confused players, coaches, media, and fans alike.
This is utterly ridiculous.
Taking away guaranteed money for a rule that literally no one understands how referees will call it this season and beyond? It makes no sense.
For everyone who thinks contract disputes are only because of players and agent greed, here is a news flash that organizations aren't just the innocent parties.
"That's obviously a big topic right now," Pace told WMVP-AM 1000. "And for us, these are important and critical reps that are going on right now. But to get into the nitty gritty details isn't something we feel we should do publicly. That's behind the scenes. We have a lot of respect for him obviously and a lot of respect for his agents. And it's a matter of just working through that."
Players have been rather open on the new helmet rule, including San Fransisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman, who is not afraid to ever speak his mind.
So what is this new rule? The NFL Football Operations explained it:
Smith, a consensus All-American, Butkus Award, and SEC Defensive Player of the Year who registered 137 tackles for Georgia in 2017, is just trying to make sure he doesn't get penalized if a ref or league interprets a hit warranting a suspension.
Why Smith is not a training camp or playing in Thursday's Hall of Fame Game is stupid.
The Bears need to realize that quickly, end Smith's holdout, and get a signature on the dotted line for his rookie contract as quickly as possible.