Roquan Smith

NFL’s Fifth-Year Option Salaries For 2021

The NFL’s 2021 salary cap has been set at $182.5MM, marking the league’s first reduction in a decade. With that, the league has also ironed out the value of this year’s fifth-round option for 2018 first-round picks.

Here’s the full rundown, via NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero (on Twitter):

1. Baker Mayfield, Browns, QB — $18.858MM (playing time)

2. Saquon Barkley, Giants, RB — $7.217MM (1x Pro Bowl)

3. Sam Darnold, Jets, QB — $18.858MM (playing time)

4. Denzel Ward, Browns, CB — $13.294MM (1x Pro Bowl)

5. Bradley Chubb, Broncos, LB — $12.716MM (1x Pro Bowl)

6. Quenton Nelson, Colts, G — $13.754MM (2x Pro Bowl)

7. Josh Allen, Bills, QB — $23.106MM (1x Pro Bowl)

8. Roquan Smith, Bears, LB — $9.735MM (playing time)

9. Mike McGlinchey, 49ers, OT — $10.88MM (playing time)

10. Josh Rosen, Cardinals, QB*

11. Minkah Fitzpatrick, Steelers, S (drafted by Dolphins) — $10.612MM (2x Pro Bowl)

12. Vita Vea, Buccaneers, DT — $7.638MM

13. Daron Payne, Washington, DT — $8.529MM (playing time)

14. Marcus Davenport, Saints, DE — $9.553MM

15. Kolton Miller, Raiders, OT — $10.88MM (playing time)

16. Tremaine Edmunds, Bills, LB — $12.716MM (1x Pro Bowl)

17. Derwin James, Chargers, S — $9.052MM (1x Pro Bowl)

18. Jaire Alexander, Packers, CB — $13.294MM (1x Pro Bowl)

19. Leighton Vander Esch, Cowboys, LB — $9.145MM

20. Frank Ragnow, Lions, C — $12.657MM (1x Pro Bowl)

21. Billy Price, Bengals, C — $10.413MM

22. Rashaan Evans, Titans, LB — $9.735MM (playing time)

23. Isaiah Wynn, Patriots, OT — $10.413MM

24. D.J. Moore, Panthers, WR — $11.116MM (playing time)

25. Hayden Hurst, Falcons, TE (Drafted by Ravens) — $5.428MM

26. Calvin Ridley, Falcons, WR — $11.116MM (playing time)

27. Rashaad Penny, Seahawks, RB — $4.523MM

28., Steelers, S Terrell Edmunds — $6.753MM (playing time)

29. Taven Bryan, Jaguars, DT — $7.638MM

30. Mike Hughes, Vikings, CB — $12.643MM

31. Sony Michel, Patriots, RB — $4.523MM

32. Lamar Jackson, Ravens, QB — $23.106MM (1x Pro Bowl)

* Rosen was released from his original contract and, therefore, is not option-eligible 

As a refresher, the fifth-year option year is now fully guaranteed. In the past, it was guaranteed for injury only. The values are also dependent on certain performance metrics:

  • Two-time Pro Bowlers (excluding alternate Pro Bowlers) will earn the same as their position’s franchise tag.
  • One-time Pro Bowlers will earn the equivalent of the transition tag.
  • Players who achieve any of the following will get the average of the 3rd-20th highest salaries at their position:
    • 75%+ snaps in two of their first three seasons
    • 75%+ average across all three seasons
    • 50%+ in each of first three seasons
  • Players who do not hit any of those benchmarks will get the average of the 3rd-25th top salaries at their position.

Bears’ Roquan Smith Done For Season

DEC. 9: It is indeed a torn pec for Smith, head coach Matt Nagy confirmed. Smith will head to IR, and his season is over. Nagy hopes to have Smith back in time for April’s offseason program.

DEC. 6: The Bears fear that linebacker Roquan Smith tore his pec in Thursday night’s win over the Cowboys, NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (on Twitter) hears. If the MRI confirms, it would likely knock Smith out for the remainder of the season.

Smith has been playing some of his best football as of late, including a Week 13 performance against the Lions that included 16 tackles and two sacks. If the season is over for Smith, he’ll finish out 2019 with 100 total tackles, the aforementioned two sacks (as an off-ball linebacker), and 701 snaps (85% to date).

As the No. 8 overall pick in the 2018 draft, Smith has two full years left on his rookie deal. After that, the Bears will have the option of keeping Smith for 2022, his fifth NFL season.

After last night’s win over Dallas, the Bears are 7-6 with a puncher’s chance at the playoffs. Their next game against the Packers will be hugely important – a win keeps their slim NFC North chances (currently 5%) alive. A loss, on the other hand, would more or less seal the division for Green Bay and end Chicago’s season. From the sound of it, they’ll be without Smith for the pivotal Week 15 matchup.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC North Notes: Vikings, Diggs, Bears

Stefon Diggs and the Vikings are at odds, and while Minnesota reportedly doesn’t have any plans to trade the star wideout, Diggs added a bit of fuel to the fire today when speaking to reporters, including Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press“I feel like there’s truth to all rumors no matter how dress you it up,” Diggs said. “I won’t be saying nothing on it. I won’t be speaking on it at all. But there is truth to all rumors, I guess.” Diggs want to play against the Giants on Sunday, but head coach Mike Zimmer said “we’ll have to see” when asked about Diggs’ availability for Week 5, as Chad Graff of The Athletic tweets.

Meanwhile, Minnesota is still hoping the situation “blows over” in due time, reports Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Per Fowler, this is not the first time Diggs has been upset with the Vikings’ “team dynamics,” although it’s not clear — at least publicly — what exactly Diggs is frustrated by at the moment.

Here’s more from the NFC North:

  • Bears linebacker Roquan Smith said earlier today that he’ll play against the Raiders in Week 6, and Smith has indeed traveled to London with his team, according to Adam Jahns of the Chicago Tribune and Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter links). Smith has been dealing with an unspecified personal issue and reportedly hadn’t been “acting like himself ,” per Jeff Dickerson of ESPN.com. It’s unclear exactly what is or was going on with Smith, but the Bears have been tight-lipped about the situation. Nevertheless, the 2018 first-round pick appears ready to suit up against Oakland on the other side of the pond.
  • While Smith figures to be available on Sunday, wide receiver Taylor Gabriel and backup offensive lineman Ted Larsen are both dealing with injuries and did not make the trip to London, the Bears announced. Gabriel 75 yards and three touchdowns for Chicago in Week 3, but missed last Sunday’s game with a concussion. Larsen filled in for Kyle Long at right guard last week, but Long is expected to start in Week 5 after recovering from a hip injury.
  • In case you missed it, the Packers claimed ex-Ravens edge rusher Tim Williams off waivers.

Injury Updates: Trubisky, Smith, Hockenson, Allen, Ingram, Mack, Stills

Perhaps the most significant injury of Week 4 afternoon games was Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky going down. Trubisky went down hard on his left shoulder, and was quickly ruled out before returning to the sideline with his arm in a sling. Bears coach Matt Nagy didn’t offer many details after the game, but he said he didn’t expect the injury to be season-ending, per Tom Pelissero of NFL Network (Twitter link). While it certainly could be worse, that does seem to suggest that the Bears expect Trubisky to miss at least a little time. Chase Daniel will fill in under center.

Here are more injury updates from around the league:

  • Bears linebacker Roquan Smith was surprisingly inactive for the team’s win over the Vikings, and Nagy said after the game Smith’s absence was for personal reasons, Pelissero tweets. Nagy wouldn’t elaborate and wouldn’t say whether Smith’s personal issue would extend beyond this week. This will be something to monitor, as Smith is a key part of Chicago’s defense.
  • Lions rookie tight end T.J. Hockenson took a hard hit in Detroit’s loss to the Chiefs, and was ruled out with a concussion. The Lions drafted Hockenson eighth overall back in April, and he’s shown a lot of promise in the first few games. He had three catches and a touchdown before going down against Kansas City, and is a big part of Detroit’s passing game. Hopefully he’ll be able to get cleared in time for Week 5.
  • Speaking of concussions, Bills quarterback Josh Allen suffered one on a brutal hit in Buffalo’s loss to the Patriots. He was ruled out for the remainder of the game and if he can’t get cleared by next week, Matt Barkley will be under center. Allen was struggling before getting hurt and had thrown three interceptions, but Barkley wasn’t much better in relief.
  • The Chargers’ injuries continued to pile up, as star pass-rusher Melvin Ingram left their game against the Dolphins and was quickly ruled out with a hamstring injury. Los Angeles was already one of the most banged up teams in the league, so this was the last thing they needed. Head coach Anthony Lynn said after the game that Ingram pulled a hamstring and they didn’t know how long he’d be out, according to a tweet from Eric D. Williams of ESPN.com.
  • Colts running back Marlon Mack tweaked his ankle, but it doesn’t seem serious. Mack only had two carries in the second half, but he said after the game it was just “coach’s decision” to hold him out and that he expects to be fine for Indy’s Week 5 game against the Chiefs, according to Charlie Clifford of WISH 8 (Twitter link).
  • Texans receiver Kenny Stills left his team’s loss to the Panthers with a hamstring injury, but it’s unclear how severe it is. After the game, head coach Bill O’Brien said the team would have to wait until Monday to determine the severity, per a tweet from Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. Stills would be a big loss, but Houston would still have a very solid receiving corp in Will Fuller, DeAndre Hopkins, and Keke Coutee without him.

Bears Officially Sign Roquan Smith

Roquan Smith is officially in the fold. On Tuesday morning, the Bears announced that Smith has signed his rookie deal.

The Bears, predictably, did not release the details of Smith’s pact, but per the terms of his slot, we know that the No. 8 overall pick has received a four-year, $18MM guaranteed pact. And, via Mike Florio of PFT, we have the details on his guarantee structure in the event of discipline.

The two sides hammered out a formula that protects Smith against most of the potential incidents that would take place on the field. Smith’s guarantees will void only if the league office suspends him for three games or more for something that would happen during a play, such as lowering his helmet or roughing the quarterback. That’s not a cumulative three games, so Smith can be suspended for one or two games multiple times throughout his contract without forfeiting guarantees.

If Smith is suspended for one game for a post-play infraction in which he’s defending himself or a teammate, he’ll maintain his guarantees. For two games, however, he’ll forfeit them. If he’s deemed to be the aggressor in a post-play incident and suspended for one game, he will lose his guarantees.

Ultimately, the Bears had to deviate quite a bit from the standard language in order to get Smith on the practice field. It’s not ideal for Chicago, but the team is undoubtedly relieved to have its top draft pick under contract.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bears To Sign Rookie LB Roquan Smith

The Bears and first round linebacker Roquan Smith have finally agreed to terms on his rookie deal, a source tells Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). The agreement means that the longest rookie holdout of 2018 is finally over. 

[RELATED: Bears Sign Knile Davis]

Smith stayed away from the Bears as his agents balked at language in the Bears’ proposal. His reps wanted his guarantees protected in the event of league discipline, which spans off-the-field issues as well as late hits and things of that nature on the field. It’s not immediately clear where things landed, but we should know the specifics soon.

Smith, the No. 8 overall pick in the 2018 draft, is believed by some to have one of the highest ceilings of any player in this year’s class. Smith finished in the top ten of Heisman voting in his final year at Georgia as he tallied 137 total tackles, 14 tackles for a loss, and 6.5 sacks.

The rookie projects to start at outside linebacker for the Bears this year, opposite of Leonard Floyd. Smith may be behind the 8-ball in learning every part of the scheme, but the Bears are hopeful that he’ll be able to get on track quickly.

Per the terms of his slot, Smith’s deal will come in as a four-year, $18MM guaranteed pact.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC North Notes: Packers, Rodgers, Bears

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has some ideas for how the NFL can improve, specifically when it comes to the salary cap and contracts. Given Rodgers’ contractual situation, it’s no surprise that he would like to see the league do away with the franchise tag.

I think if you didn’t have it, it would encourage teams to get deals done earlier and in the long run it actually might save them money,” he said (via Kevin Clark of The Ringer). “Because you’re doing a guy’s deal a year before he’s ready to play, especially young guys. Maybe they get him for cheap and, if he has a huge season his last year, cheaper than they would have gotten him after that season, if you sign him early.”

Rodgers, who is a minority owner of the Milwaukee Bucks, would also like to see the NFL take a page from the NBA and institute a soft salary cap.

I would allow teams to go over the cap knowing if they do, since there’s not a hard cap, they are going to be faced with some luxury tax issues and they’d change their strategy,” Rodgers said. “It’s not like we’re hurting—just like the NBA, we’re not hurting for revenue. We’re doing excellent in the NFL and the NBA is doing fantastic as well.”

While you mull over Commissioner Rodgers’ suggestions, here’s more from his division:

  • Bears linebacker Roquan Smith is the only remaining unsigned 2018 draft pick and Joel Corry of CBSSports.com has a suggestion for how the two sides can bridge the gap. Smith’s contract, he writes, could have similar language to what was in Ndamukong Suh‘s Dolphins contract. Smith’s camp doesn’t want his guarantees to void in the event of league discipline, but a compromise could involve a clause that says Smith would have to be suspended for at a certain percentage of the season’s game in order for the guarantees to be 86’d. In Suh’s case, that number was 25%.
  • On Wednesday, Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said the club would be open to exploring the free agent guard market for depth purposes. “We’re looking at all free agent areas, really,” Zimmer said (Twitter link via ESPN.com’s Courtney Cronin). “That’s what those guys do at night. They come in here and watch — heck they watch other teams, they watch guys on the street. So yeah.” After learning that Nick Easton will likely miss the entire 2018 season with a neck injury, it seems likely that the Vikings will explore outside help for the interior line.

Latest On Bears LB Roquan Smith’s Holdout

The Bears are no longer fighting first-round linebacker Roquan Smith on contract language that would void his guaranteed money were he to be suspended under the NFL’s new helmet contact rule, according to David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune.

However, Smith — the final rookie without a contract in place — is not attending Chicago’s training camp as his agents are still reticent about certain language in the Bears’ proposed pact, per Haugh. Smith’s agents want him protected in the event he’s suspended for an event that’s considered “outside the realm of a football play”: a late hit, for instance. The Bears aren’t willing to begin a new contractual precedent by including such language, although a team source tells Waugh that disinclination has nothing to do with Smith’s character.

Chicago has reportedly been adamant that it wouldn’t attempt to void Smith’s future guarantees over a “football play,” per Haugh. As evidence, the club has provided its reaction to linebacker Danny Trevathan‘s illegal hit on Packers wideout Davante Adams in 2017. After that incident, the Bears never made any attempt to recoup money from Trevathan or void his remaining guaranteed money.

Per Haugh, only eight teams have acceded to rookie demands of language that would protect their guarantees in the event of a helmet-related suspension. However, just four clubs have allowed the protection that Smith wants, so it’s unlikely the Bears want to create a new precedent given that most of the NFL has not given in.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

No Progress For Bears, Roquan Smith

The Bears and Roquan Smith are at a “stalemate,” head coach Matt Nagy says. The lack of progress is likely frustrating for Nagy & Co. as Smith has yet to report to camp. 

It is at a stalemate, but at the same time I’m not going to get into any more of where it’s at publicly. I don’t think it’s fair to him, I don’t think it’s fair to his agent, I don’t think it’s fair to our organization. We’re going to keep it between us and I think that’s the best thing to do right now,” Nagy said (via Mark Potash of the Sun Times).

The main holdup in talks may be related to the forfeiture of guarantees in the event of a suspension. This year, the league has introduced a new rule this offseason that could result in players getting suspended for lowering their helmets on hits. If the league starts handing out suspensions en masse, Smith’s agents do not want him to lose his financial security.

Meanwhile, one report says the real issue is language that allows the team to void guarantees for many different reasons, including team-imposed discipline. Whatever the holdup is, it’s becoming an problem.

Only four first-round picks have held out in the last five years. Under the current CBA, Smith’s holdout is the second-longest behind Joey Bosa’s 31-day holdout with the Chargers in 2016. The good news for the Bears is this – Bosa was stellar despite missing practices and went on to win the NFL’s Defensive Rookie of the Year trophy.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Roquan Smith, Bears

Bears rookie linebacker Roquan Smith, the No. 8 overall pick in this year’s draft, is one of only two first-year players from his draft class to remain unsigned. We heard several days ago that Smith’s holdout is related to the new NFL rule that prohibits a player from initiating contact with his helmet, and Rich Campbell of the Chicago Tribune reports that is indeed the case.

Smith’s camp is concerned that, if Smith were to be suspended under the new rule, the team could reclaim his guaranteed money. Head coach Matt Nagy conceded that fear is “part of the issue,” and four other sources confirmed that the new rule is at the root of Smith’s holdout. Campbell also says that Smith’s agents are asking the Bears to include in the contract a written assurance that the team would not go after any of Smith’s guaranteed money if he were suspended under the new rule. The Bears, meanwhile, do not want to include such a provision, and they are instead offering oral guarantees that they would be reasonable in assessing disciplinary action by the league against Smith. Just last year, the Bears did not seek to reclaim any guaranteed money from inside linebacker Danny Trevathan after he was suspended for an illegal hit on Packers receiver Davante Adams, as they deemed the hit to be the result of a “normal football play” without malicious intent.

Dan Graziano of ESPN.com, though, says the holdup goes beyond the new rules concerning initiating contact with the helmet (Twitter link). In fact, Graziano asserts that the issue is not the new helmet rule, and that the real source of contention is actually language that allows the team to void guarantees for many different reasons, including team-imposed discipline. So while the new rule would seem to affect Smith more than most rookies given his position and his reputation for tracking and tackling ballcarriers, the impasse may run a little deeper than that.

Campbell reports that both sides appear unwilling to blink, so it is difficult to say when Smith will finally suit up (he will not, of course, participate in this week’s Hall of Fame Game). Smith’s representatives at CAA Football represent plenty of other rookies who are already under contract — including Bills linebacker Tremaine Edmunds, the No. 16 overall pick — so Bears fans will just have to hope that Smith and the team can find some sort of common ground as soon as possible (although CAA was able to get the written assurances it wanted in Edmunds’ contract, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports tweets that other teams refused to put in such assurances for CAA clients and deals got done anyway).

Smith’s representatives could not be reached for comment, and Bears GM Ryan Pace has not been available to the media since July 19.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.