Chicago Bears linebacker Roquan Smith requests trade, says new regime 'doesn't value me'

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Chicago Bears linebacker Roquan Smith has officially requested a trade.

"I have officially requested a trade," said Smith in a Notes app letter sent to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. "Just writing these words is deeply painful."

In the letter, Smith claims that the Bears new regime, led by first-year general manager Ryan Poles, has "refused to negotiate in good faith." Smith added that he and Chicago's front office had been negotiating since April without a deal being reached.

"I wanted to be a Bear for my entire career, help this team bring a Super Bowl back to our city," Smith said. "However, they have left me no choice than to play for an organization that truly values what I bring to the table."

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Chicago Bears inside linebacker Roquan Smith (58) tackles Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Devin Duvernay (13) in the first half at Soldier Field.
Chicago Bears inside linebacker Roquan Smith (58) tackles Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Devin Duvernay (13) in the first half at Soldier Field.

Smith was selected by the Chicago Bears eighth overall in the 2018 NFL draft and started 59 games over the last four seasons. Smith led Chicago's defense in combined tackles every year he played for the team.

"Walking these hallways the past four years, you can feel the spirit, you feel the pressure to lie up to that timeless history, that great legacy," wrote Smith. "I dreamed of playing like Wilbur Marshall, Singletary, Briggs, Urlacher, Butkus! Since the day I was drafted, I vowed to play this position at a level that upheld the standard that was set before me, to uphold that respect and honor, and I have."

According to Rapoport, the extension offered to Smith was a "backloaded offer," which included de-escalators in value. Of the 94 non-quarterback contracts worth $15 million or more, not a single one has de-escalators. Rapoport added that, if accepted, the deal to Smith "would hurt the linebacker market as a whole."

Smith added that he had yet to speak to Bears ownership, writing "maybe they can salvage this," but outside of that, Smith said he does not see any chance for this relationship to be repaired.

Poles made an unscheduled appearance at Bears media availability today, telling reporters that that the team "brought it" during contract negotiations. Poles still hopes to retain Smith.

"I thought we'd be in a better situation," said Poles. "Right now, my intentions are to sign Roquan to this team. We're gonna take it day by day, and at the end of the day, we've got to do what's best for this organization. But my intentions are to make sure Roquan's signed to this team."

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Chicago Bears' Roquan Smith requests trade, airs out grievances