The NFL continues preseason play, with two more games coming up on Thursday as teams prepare to make their first roster cuts. Here’s what’s going around the league this week.
Roquan Smith Demands Trade From Bears
Chicago Bears linebacker Roquan Smith has been locked in a contract dispute with the team and has been holding out of training camp since negotiations broke down on a contract extension. He’s entering the last year of his contract and is set to make $9.7 million this season. Smith was hoping to reach a long-term deal but has since become frustrated with the process, saying that he’s lost trust because of the team’s attempts to take advantage of him and was offended by their latest offer.
Smith has been one of the few positive aspects of the Bears in the last several years amid the chaos surrounding the team. He was picked number eight in the 2018 draft and has been one of the top linebackers in the league during his four-year career.
Smith has recorded 524 tackles, 14 sacks, and five interceptions since coming to Chicago. If the Bears decide to grant his request, many teams in desperate need of linebackers will definitely be interested in acquiring his services.
Beckham Jr. Hints At Interest in Bills
Wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. is still rehabbing a torn ACL he suffered in last season’s Super Bowl and isn’t in any hurry to sign with a new team. However, the Buffalo Bills could be on his short list after he commented on an Instagram post by former Rams LB Von Miller from the Bills training camp. Beckham commented on the post, asking Miller, “what’s the locker next to you look like!!!??”
This could be Odell just trying to increase his stock, as the wide receiver still has strong ties to the Rams organization. The team has expressed that they are interested in keeping Beckham in Los Angeles.
However, he could end up as the number three receiver on the depth chart behind Cooper Kupp and Allen Robinson. He is expected to miss the first half of the upcoming season and has a lot of time he can use as part of his free agent strategy.
Broncos Sale To Be Approved on Tuesday
One of the most complicated and lengthy transitions of ownership in sports is set to be finalized on Tuesday, as the NFL owners meet in Denver at the Mall of America Hotel to vote on approval of the sale to the new ownership group. Once approved, the team will be under the control of the Walton-Penner group when the regular season starts on September 12.
Rob Walton, the son of Walmart founder Sam Walton, daughter Carrie Walton-Penner and her husband, Greg Penner, are the new majority partners of the franchise after purchasing the team at auction in June for a North American sports franchise record of $4.65 billion. Rob will be the controlling owner, with the Penners running the day-to-day team operations.
Following the recommendation of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell that all future ownership groups be more diverse, the lead partners added three Black investors to the ownership group. It includes Starbucks chairwoman Mellody Hobson, former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Formula 1 racing champion Lewis Hamilton. However, it’s unclear whether any of them will have voting rights in the partnership.