Roquan Smith has raised alarms throughout the NFL.
The Bears’ star linebacker has been locked in a standoff with the team after rejecting a contract extension offer last week. He officially requested a trade last Tuesday, claiming Chicago’s offer “is one that would be bad for myself, and for the entire LB market if I signed it.”
Amid the trade request, reports surfaced Friday that a rogue individual claiming to represent the 25-year-old was calling NFL front offices in an effort to facilitate a deal away from the Bears.
Per multiple reports, the NFL management council sent a memo to all 32 teams warning them not to conduct business with the individual, named as Saint Omni in the message, after being informed by the NFL Players Association.
“A person by the name of Saint Omni, who is not an NFLPA certified agent, is contacting clubs indicating that he is representing Roquan Smith, who is under contract to the Chicago Bears,” the memo, which was obtained by ESPN, says. “Mr. Omni is prohibited from negotiating player contracts or discussing potential trades on behalf of any NFL player or prospective player or assisting in or advising with respect to such negotiations.”
Smith is not listed as an official registered client of any NFLPA-certified agent.
Omni’s involvement with any front office could put a team at risk with the league’s tampering policy, which states “no club is permitted to negotiate with a player under contract to another club, or with his certified agent, or to discuss a potential trade without the direct written permission of the player’s employer club.”
On the same day Smith demanded a trade, Bears general manager Ryan Poles publicly reiterated his commitment to getting a long-term deal done. The next day, however, the Bears took a much more aggressive stance, removing Smith from the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list. The move now allows the Bears to fine Smith for any practices he misses — he had yet to show up to training camp during the contract saga.
A four-year veteran, the eighth-overall pick in the 2018 draft has been named to the NFL All-Pro team each of the last two seasons.
This is the second time the Bears, or their players, have drawn the ire of the NFLPA recently. Over the weekend, NFLPA president JC Tretter ripped the Bears and Solider Field for an embarrassing playing surface and conditions.
“The NFL said that this field met minimum testing standards,” Tretter tweeted. “We clearly need to re-evaluate what is an acceptable surface for players to compete on. We need new testing metrics looking at the performance and safety of every field. The NFL can and should do better.”