Report: Bears exercise 5th-year option on linebacker Roquan Smith’s contract

The move will keep Smith with the Bears through 2022

Roquan Smith isn’t going anywhere.

The Bear have reportedly exercised the fifth-year option on his rookie contract, keeping him with the team through 2022, according to the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

Smith, 24, is coming off the best season of his young career. He was a second-team All-Pro performer at inside linebacker and led the Bears with 139 total tackles. He also had four sacks and two interceptions. His career-high 18 tackles for loss was tied for second most in the NFL.

NFL rookie contract for first-round draft picks are four years in length, and following year three teams have an option to tack on a fifth year. According to OverTheCap.com, Smith’s fifth-year option is worth an estimated $9.7 million. Thanks to his Pro Bowl snub in 2020, Smith missed out on an extra $3 million – alternatively saving the Bears $3 million in 2022 salary cap space.

The Bears and Smith could agree to a long-term contract at any time, but the fifth-year option makes it a less immediate priority this offseason.

Smith was recently honored by his teammates as the team’s 2020 Ed Block Courage Award winner. The award is given every year to one player on all 32 NFL teams who best displays professionalism, strength, dedication and is a community role model.

Sean Hammond

Sean is the Chicago Bears beat reporter for Shaw Media. He also contributes to high school football coverage at Friday Night Drive. Sean has covered various sports at the amateur, college and professional levels since 2012. He joined Shaw Media in 2016.