The Chicago Bears have historically done a great job of retaining key players from their own roster. Expectations were that GM Ryan Pace would do so again this offseason. He got off to a great start. The team swiftly secured star safety Eddie Jackson to a lucrative extension and then kept veteran linebacker Danny Trevathan on a new three-year deal before free agency. Those were two big hurdles cleared. Only one remains, but it’s undoubtedly the one that has fans the most nervous. What about Allen Robinson?
The 26-year old wide receiver is the best thing the Bears have going on offense. Letting him slip away in free agency next year is out of the question. The best scenario is locking him up to a long-term extension. Something both sides seem to want. Yet Robinson stated recently that both he and his agent haven’t heard from the team regarding a new deal.
So what gives? The media finally had a chance to ask Pace about the idea of extending players despite economic uncertainties regarding COVID-19. Undoubtedly the question was a reference to Robinson. The GM explained.
“Especially (in) regards to the cap in ’21, we’re still waiting on some of those details. We know what the floor is for the cap in ’21 and once we’re given the parameters from the league in regards to the cap, we’re all operating under the same rules. We get that. Guys have a lot of confidence in Joey Laine and myself and how we’re forecasting and how we’re predicting for the future. I’m confident we’ll work through it. It’s not going to prevent us from doing the things that we want to do.”
Allen Robinson should get his deal but it could take time
Basically what Pace is saying is the Bears don’t want to make any financial decisions until they have a firm grasp of where things stand on the 2021 salary cap. Word out of discussions between the NFL and NFLPA are that it could drop to $175 million. That’s over $23 million from where it currently stands. A substantial drop that would make life significantly harder for the Bears who have a lot of expensive contracts on their payroll.
It doesn’t mean they couldn’t pay Robinson. It would just mean they’d have to get more creative with the contract structure. Perhaps backloading a lot of the money in order to keep his cap hit next year as low as possible. The Bears did come into some extra cap space this year following the opt out of Eddie Goldman. Maybe they could use that to their advantage.
Robinson has made it clear he wants to stay in Chicago. Still, he also wants to get paid. That is perfectly fair. It’s just tricky for the Bears and could take more time than initially planned.