“Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate,” said John F Kennedy. Roquan has been the talk of the town, the talk of the Bears for sure. More of this is complete speculation and mis-guided searches for who is to blame? Roquan aligned himself with a group of agents who are part of the behemoths known as C.A.A., Creative Artists Agency. Todd France, Brian Ayrault, and Ben Renzin became part of C.A.A. Sports in 2015. France once led Five Star Mangement and was acquired by CAA in Sept. 18, 2015, almost a year to-the-day after billionaire Terry Pegula relinquished his interest in Five Star. Stemming from an NFL inquiry that included conflict of interest as part of his purchase of the Buffalo Bills. But France stated in a telephone interview ” The timing of the sale to CAA Sports was mere coincidence and not tied to any contractual restriction.”
So let’s get a little context about the guys behind the deals. One guy listed to be leading negotiations for Roquan is Brian Ayrault, the same guy behind Joey Bosa’s 31-day impasse in 2016. Both France and Ayrault have been involved in many impasses since 2011 including Prince’s rookie deal with the Giants. The details on language other than the helmet rule, have many in the league paying close attention between the Bears and Roquan and are monitoring it closely. This fight is one worth watching because of a precedent it might set for years to come. One league source reported to the Chicago Sun-Times and suggested that” CAA Sports wanted to reach this point an impasse; that generates negative headlines for the Bears”! France is also behind All-Pro Aaron Donald’s 2nd consecutive hold out and he has still yet to sign.
Business as usual for many I’m sure? That depends where your interests lie and is more about the way you perceive contracts today. Clearly CAA Sports is proven to be the goliath on the block. Creative Artists Agency: 25 clients drafted this year, compared to 23 in 2017. 23 clients went in the first 3 rounds, including a record-breaking 11 first-round selections. Agent Jimmy Sexton represents/co-represents 16 of the 25 CAA clients drafted, and Agent Todd France led the way with 6 first-round selections.
Not all of their players were holding out, and to this point Roquan is the only one not signed. That being said, not all players are the same and neither is each club looking for the same language.
Ultimately I do not view this as Bears vs Roquan, or bad guy/good guy narrative that has a moral value. Roquan decided that CAA Sports was who he wanted to represent him, and unless he changes agencies that’s who the Bears are negotiating with. If Roquan is unable or not willing to sign by this weekend here is what I suggest. When he signs? Let’s say prior to the season and the final 53 are penciled in September 1st and they may have till the 8th, the Bears put Roquan on the P.U.P. LIST. Roquan has six more weeks with the team to learn and this gives another possible roster spot player six weeks to sort itself out. I know dubious. Yet there is gonna be a few spots on this roster; one player given 6 more weeks may prove beneficial?
This second pre-season game has a little more intrigue than the previous game had. Starters. Ah yes, starters will get their first live action against a bona-fide opponent. The Cincinnati Bengals, a team who was at 7W-9L last year, will have a lot to prove and the new defensive coordinator Teryl Austin has plenty of ammo. Alright, it may only be for a series or two, but it will allow us to see a few things Nagy has been working on.
Nagy himself might be working on the Paul Crewe re-boot, a la Burt Reynolds in the Longest Yard circa 1974, not the Adam Sandler 2005 version. Just in case you’re unaware, Coach Nagy has been throwing dimes during practice. We will continue to see O-line variants and receiver combos more in-depth than game 1, minus Josh Bellamy and Turbo. Can the O-line hold up better against a push or create and sustain better blocking lanes? Vic Fangio defense still requires a larger sample size from the D-line and outside linebacker positions. No Isiah Irving is a disappointment and possibly lends to more opportunity for others to get time to prove they can flash as well.
Football has always been more of a marathon than a sprint, and this second game will just be one more marker the Bears have to cross. Player depth still is and has everything to do with what the 2018 Bears can possibly become. Next man up is not some cliché thing thrown around lightly, and has been this teams’ downfall for too may seasons to count. I know the elephant in the room remains; when will Roquan sign?
At this point let’s enjoy this second pre-season game for the players that are on the field, and worry less about who is not. Josh Bellamy, Dion Sims, Rashard Fant and Isiah Irving will not travel just like Roquan Smith to Cincinnati and others won’t suit up either. I say that’s fine because this is a roster filled with guys willing to show us all what they’re made of. Will we see Kevin Toliver CB or Joel Iyiegbuniwe ILB? Unfortuantely an exact player injury report was unavailable prior to this article. Look for guys like Rashaad Coward OT, James Daniels C/G, Kylie Fitts OLB, Malachi Jones WR, Johnathon Mincy DB, Ryan Nall RB, Bilal Nichols DL, Cavon Walker DL, Nick Willams DT, and Josh Woods LB/S; they might just have something to say before it’s all said and done.