The only player from the 2018 draft who was still unsigned entering this week has agreed to a deal with the Chicago Bears, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports. Bears coach Matt Nagy told the Associated Press Sunday that Smith's holdout is limiting his chances of playing in Week 1 of the regular season.
The Bears say they will make Smith available to reporters after Tuesday's practice, amid reports that he and the team have a contract agreement in place. So ultimately, he'll have to squeeze everything that he missed over the last month into these final three weeks, and Bears fans will have to hope that he can get in good enough shape in time for the season opener in Green Bay.More news: Ex-Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane could be Manchester United's next manager
Why was Roquan Smith holding out? New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold, the third overall pick, held out briefly before signing his deal and reporting on July 31.
Smith's holdout seemed odd, but it might turn out to be an issue the National Football League has to navigate in coming years.More news: Turkish court rejects appeal to release U.S. pastor
The more pressing concern, now that Smith is signed, is when he'll be able to start for the Bears.
Depending on how Smith is doing in terms of physical condition, he could appear in the team's preseason game in Denver on Saturday. Smith was the Bears' big defensive addition this offseason, the No. 8 overall pick of the draft.More news: Belgium worldwide Kevin De Bruyne suffers injury in training
With his speed and athleticism, Chicago views Smith as a potential cornerstone at inside linebacker for a defense that ranked 10th overall a year ago. The Bears seem to have been the side that gave in, considering Smith's fully-guaranteed deal.