The Bears hit the jackpot on Ryan Pace’s signing of wide receiver Allen Robinson last year, and the good news is that he wants to stay for a long time.
In his second season with the Bears, Robinson has been the best, most consistent part of an otherwise struggling offense. He’s putting together what will probably be the Bears’ best receiving season since 2014.
It has been a perfect match. The Bears won their $42 million bet that he could be a legitimate No. 1 receiver, and Robinson is with a coach who believes will maximize his abilities.
It has him dreaming big.
“I would love to be the Bears’ all-time leading receiver,” Robinson said. “With the longevity of the organization and players who have come before here, goals like that are big. Being the all-time leading receiver for a franchise like the Chicago Bears is special.
“I’ve really enjoyed my two years. We’ve won a lot of games. From an organization standpoint, it’s a top-flight organization and coaching staff.”
He has one season left on his three-year contract, which sets up the offseason as the time to talk extension.
As the Bears approach hard decisions about who they can afford to extend, retaining Robinson must be a priority. He’s just 26, and now that he’s healthy, everyone sees what he can do. He has 76 catches for 898 yards and seven touchdowns despite some of the NFL’s shakiest quarterback play.
If the Bears are willing to pay market value, which would surely be a raise from the $14 million in average salary on his current contract, it should be an easy negotiation. Robinson would love to get it done.
“Yeah, definitely,” he said. “There’s a lot that goes into it . . . but as far as how comfortable I am here and how much I like it here, I definitely would foresee spending many more years here.”
Coach Matt Nagy can probably foresee it, too, because it’s hard to imagine where the Bears would be without Robinson.
He leads the team in yards from scrimmage and total touchdowns and has accounted for nearly one-third of the passing offense.
His time with the Bears has been a breath of fresh air after four years with the Jaguars, who went 11-37 his first three seasons — he put up 1,400 yards and 14 touchdowns to make the Pro Bowl in 2015 with Blake Bortles as his quarterback — and didn’t use him properly.
With the Bears, he has been winning and enjoying a much more diversified role.
“The confidence that I had in Coach Nagy . . . I knew that I would get an opportunity to show my entire skill set,” Robinson said. “I don’t think I was just a jump-ball or go-ball receiver. I do that well, but I bring some different elements to the game.
“The route tree that I have on a weekly basis in our offense is a pretty wide range. In Jacksonville, I ran a lot of go-balls and didn’t get a chance to play in the slot much.”
More variety not only gives Robinson other ways to produce now, but eventually could extend his career.
“You aren’t gonna be the most athletic player on the field forever, but that don’t mean you can’t be the best player on the field,” Robinson said. “I bring a lot more to the table when it comes to running routes and playing in the slot. I’m a bigger receiver, but I also have the skill set of some smaller receivers when it comes to doing stuff inside.”
Robinson checks every box, and the Bears would be wise to make him a mainstay.
He’s proven, he’s still relatively young, he’s a major influence in the locker room and he’s already thinking about how to perform at a high level into his 30s.
If he wants to make a run at being the Bears’ best receiver ever, they should give him that chance.