There's still weight on the shoulders of Bears' general manager Ryan Poles this offseason.
Despite the clear cut decision to gut the roster and jettison Khalil Mack, Akiem Hicks, Eddie Goldman and Allen Robinson, there's still work to be done for the first year general manager.
First and foremost, the organization needs to lock up star linebacker Roquan Smith to a long-term deal. But, according to Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer, the two sides are still far apart on an agreement.
"They definitely got a ways to go when it comes to a long term deal," Breer said on NBC Sports Chicago's Unfiltered with David Kaplan.
Smith is a high-value defensive asset in today's NFL. He's one of two players in history to record two straight seasons with a combined 300 tackles and 30 plus tackles for loss. He's recorded nearly 100 solo tackles in each of the last three seasons. The Bears already announced their intention to make him the WILL linebacker in their 4-3 system too.
Breer mentioned while Eberflus and Alan Williams were in Indianapolis, the Colts had Darius Leonard and other tall, athletic linebackers like Smith that would make sense for the defense. The defense is based on creating space for the WILL linebacker to make plays, which is the role they foresee for Smith.
Leonard signed an extension worth $19 million per year last offseason. Valuing that deal, Smith likely wants to make around $20 million per year to make him the league's highest paid linebacker.
As for now, however, the two sides remain far apart. Smith remains on the PUP (physically unable to perform) list and cannot participate in practice. He also does not have an agent, creating reason to believe the process of signing him to an extension will take longer than usual.
For now, patience is required while the two sides work out an inevitable deal.