On Wednesday afternoon, the Chicago Bears removed Roquan Smith from the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list.
The team placed Smith on the PUP list at the beginning of training camp. As a result, he has not participated in any practices, though he has been present during them. He has also been attending meetings with his position group.
The timing of this move comes amidst a stalemate in contract extension talks. On Tuesday, Smith took to social media to voice his frustrations and demand a trade. In his statement, he seemingly threw GM Ryan Poles and the Bears' front office under the bus. In fact, he suggested that the McCaskey's could step in and potentially fix the "broken" relationship, which comes off as a leverage move by the linebacker.
Consequently, after practice on Family Day at Soldier Field, Poles stepped up to the podium to comment on Smith's trade request and the ongoing situation. The first-year GM said all the right things, expressing a seemingly genuine desire to secure Smith for the long-term. But actions speak louder than words.
With the Bears now removing Roquan Smith from the PUP list, he "has" to participate in practices. If he doesn't, the team "can" fine him for each day he misses. That maneuver swings the leverage back in the Bears' favor.
However, it seems the fifth-year linebacker has no intentions of partaking in practices.
It will be interesting to see how this situation unfolds. Things will likely get uglier before they get better seeing as both sides are jostling for leverage in the negotiations. Will the Chicago Bears actually fine Roquan Smith if he holds out?
Perhaps the team removing Smith from the PUP list indicates a resolution coming soon, whether that be a trade or a contract extension.
Nevertheless, the regular season is just 32 days away. That's when it really matters.