Bears, Roquan Smith reached a compromise on issue of voided guarantees

Getty Images

Bears linebacker Roquan Smith missed nearly three weeks of training camp due to a fight over the specific circumstances that would result in his future guarantees being voided. The Bears proposed broad language that would have voided guarantees if, for example, Smith had been suspended for violating the new helmet rule or for getting into a fight while defending himself or a teammate. Smith and his agents refused to accept this broad term.

A compromise finally has been reached.

Per a source with knowledge of the deal, the two sides agreed to a specific formula that gives Smith protection against most of the potential incidents that would arise while he is in uniform and on a football field. As to anything that could happen during a play (for example, lowering the helmet, unnecessary roughness, illegal hit on a defenseless receiver, roughing the quarterback), Smith’s guarantees void only if the league office imposes a suspension of three games or more.

Smith can be suspended one or two games for a violation of the rules that apply during a given play with no consequence to his future guarantees. He can be suspended one or two games multiple times with no consequence to his future guarantees. Smith loses the guarantees only if a suspension of three or more games is imposed on him. (Over the last decade, that’s happened to only one player: Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict.)

As to a potential suspension arising from something happening after a play, Smith’s guaranteed money will not void if he’s suspended for one game for an incident that occurs while defending himself or a teammate. While it’s possible that a disagreement could emerge — and an arbitration may be needed — as to whether Smith was or wasn’t the aggressor in a given situation, the Bears yielded on their prior position that they should have discretion to decide whether to void guarantees based on a post-play incident. Instead, Smith’s guarantees will void only if he’s suspended two games for a post-play infraction, or if he’s deemed to be the aggressor as to an incident resulting in a one-game suspension.

In the end, the Bears found a way to keep the possibility of voiding the guarantees in play, and Smith received enough protection to make the possibility of an actual voiding of the guarantees unlikely. So it’s a win-win. The only loss is that it took so long to get to this point.

30 responses to “Bears, Roquan Smith reached a compromise on issue of voided guarantees

  1. If you go into contract negotiations assuming your draft pick is as dirty as Burfict, you have bigger issues as a team than just the helmet rule. This entire thing was idiotic on the part of the team, particularly Pace.

  2. I blame this completely on Ryan Pace. This could have been easily handled and the contract could have been signed before training camp ever began. Every other club in the league somehow seems to have been able to figure things out. The Bears need a different GM if they want to be successful.

  3. I think this contract negotiation carries wide implications for the league and players moving forward. I admire the young man and his agent for protecting his interests as a professional athlete. I only wonder how many rookies are now realizing they signed a contract with the same (terrible) language.

    I think we’ll see this agent’s client base expanding.

  4. So let me get this straight the Bears drafted Smith and then decided he was a risk to getting suspended for a multitude of reasons so they added language to his contract to protect themselves? If they had that many concerns, why draft him?

  5. Good for Smith, anyone that wants to blame Smith or Pace is looking at things to broadly.

    The only reason everyone else signed is because no other player or agent realized the potential repercussions of possible suspensions based on the new Helmet Rule. Every other player in the league is currently vulnerable to having guaranteed money voided by the NFL choosing to suspend them.

    I do expect the fact that Smith and the Bears got this agreed to, that it will now become standard language in every contract from this point forward…

  6. Sometimes I think contract terms should be more confidential. Opposing players now know he has more to lose by initiating a fight. I wouldn’t be surprised if they lay into the rookie that much harder because they know he can’t afford to crack.

    I realize he’s not the only player with these contract provisions but not all teams require this offset language. The way this deal unfolded it’s know common knowledge for Smith.

  7. jacktatumroamingthemiddle says:
    August 14, 2018 at 10:18 am
    So let me get this straight the Bears drafted Smith and then decided he was a risk to getting suspended for a multitude of reasons so they added language to his contract to protect themselves? If they had that many concerns, why draft him?

    ——————————————————————-

    They didn’t add this language JUST for Smith. As a standard business practice in Chicago they add this language to all their player contracts. Smith is the only one that pushed back. Not all teams do this.

  8. If your that worried about his conduct then why in the h##l did you draft him. This the kind of thing you do with a fifth rounder that should have been a first but his conduct make his draft stock slip.

  9. Yeah, you can bet this language will become the norm, other than players with history. Seems alright to me.

  10. It’s refreshing to see posters actually side with the player for once. Who on earth would sign a contract that allowed their employer to void guaranteed money for suspensions that either a) could result from a ridiculous new rule or b) the teams own decision to suspend him?

  11. Ryan Pace is an idiot and seems more concerned about his hair style than the health of the team. Smith is now just one torn hamstring away from being called a bust.

  12. Typical business practices. Rookie deals were supposed to be simplified in the CBA, and they were, but teams keep looking for ways to get around it and gain an advantage.

    I’m good with offset language pertaining to signing with another team if a player is released and some of this type of offset would seem to make sense but it needs to be very narrowly defined. I would imagine (or at least hope) these things will be addressed in the next CBA.

  13. Bears Front Office and ownership should be ashamed of themselves, they are putting money over trying to win a championship….This is clearly the Bears wanting a way out if this kid is not good, by having broad language in the original offer they would be able to cut him if he was disciplined by the league or team for any reason, if he sucked they would find a reason to fine him and cut him without paying his money…they compromised only because the kid was not going to sign that type of deal….there’s a reason some teams always suck, ownership number 1 priority is not winning football games….

  14. Wiscypro said “Sometimes I think contract terms should be more confidential. Opposing players now know he has more to lose by initiating a fight. I wouldn’t be surprised if they lay into the rookie that much harder because they know he can’t afford to crack.

    I realize he’s not the only player with these contract provisions but not all teams require this offset language. The way this deal unfolded it’s know common knowledge for Smith.”

    _________________
    You do realize that everyone else actually has MORE to lose in a fight than Smith? The standard language is that if you get suspended by the league you can lose your guarantees. Smith fought to get at least a two game cushion. So actually he’s less likely to get picked on because the OTHER players have more to lose.

  15. I’m glad the player held firm here. To often NFL players fold over issues like this that in reality aren’t a big deal to any party and it sets the stage for later negotiations that matter by showing the player will or won’t be likely to fold.

  16. So did the Bears front office succeed in avoiding the “precedent” they didn’t want to set? If not then this was all a gigantic waste of time that put their Top 10 rookie way behind the 8-ball both on the field and with the fans.

  17. On one hand, I admire the kid and his agent for trying to protect themselves. But this whole thing is stupid. The Bears, who don’t owe anything to Smith, caved. Don’t forget that there are far more busts from the draft than pro-bowlers. It is more likely that he will be an ordinary player than a special one. He hasn’t earned any special treatment, like perhaps a player negotiating their second contract. So Smith now can punch out players and his guaranteed money won’t get touched? Contracts work two-ways. If he performs as expected, they will pay him as expected. Now it’s if acts in an unsportsmanlike manner, they still pay him! Great deal for him. And when next year’s first rounder expects the same, they will have no choice. And the year after, and so on. The Bears can wait on Smith; they aren’t willing a SB this year. But they gave away all their leverage. Pace blinked and everyone has seen it.

  18. Funny how no one mentions 3 other issues. Don’t understand those who blame Bears – the same team that stood by Trevathan and Zach Miller. This isn’t the old Halas’ who lied to Butkus (George McCaskey has since apologized I’m told).

    2nd CAA the ONLY group that has forced team holdouts in the slotted salary agreement to get rookies on the field, is the same group that not only protected pedophiles like Kevin Spacey, they attacked rape victims as recently as last year. CAA is a despicable organization. I can’t imagine how professional the Bears have been to not go to the mattresses on this.

    3rd Roquan acted today like had NO SAY in what was going on. He said he hoped “they” (meaning CAA and Bears) could work something out. This is significant and a lesson to every young athlete. It’s YOUR business. It’s easy to be bedazzled by all the smoke and mirrors all the agents put up and go with the ‘biggest’ – but if he doesn’t learn quickly that it’s still his responsibility to manage those who work for him, he is extremely vulnerable to everything from his investments to even his career advice.

  19. Everyone in here who is blaming the Bears and Pace obviously have no clue what you are talking about. How many people on here would still get paid if they were in a fight on company time and/or premises, regardless if you started it or not. As mentioned, this is one of the few teams who go above and beyond for their players. RightJB mentions Zach and Danny, but they also went above and beyond for Johnny Knox several years ago as well. Show me another example of a team supporting their players like this. Here’s something else I’ll repeat about CAA that goes along with some other details mentioned:

    The kid does not have smart representation. CAA is a greedy organization that was willing to use Smith and his contract to hopefully attract future rookies. They just used Smith and the Bears to try and get every clause that would void his contract thrown out, praying the Bears were desperate enough to do so. They weren’t, and good for them. Whoever is dumb enough to think that it was still about the helmet rule, it wasn’t. The Bears took that clause out of the contract and while ago. Once the CAA got the Bears to throw that out they got greedy. They wanted every clause thrown out. The bears stood fast. The Bears wanted protection from egregious on field behavior, like starting a fight or shoving a ref. Ultimitley they met in the middle. The Bears can still void his contract under certain conditions. But, he also received more protection. They met in the middle and it was a great job by the Bears. As shown, they were right to cover their ass, look at the jags Jalen rhamsey and Dante Fowler jr as an example of stupid behavior the bears were trying to protect themselves against. 11 of his 18 is also in bonuses I believe, so it is incentive laden as well. Please read and be informed about what’s going on before posting. Or continue to open mouth and insert foot. Alot of haters on here enjoy doing that. In the end I am glad the bears and Smith agreed and hope both prove the haters wrong. I hope. Go Bears.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!