This should’ve been the easiest deal in the history of contract extensions.
Allen Robinson is a 1,000-yard wide receiver who does everything right and wants to stay with the Bears long enough to break all their receiving records — a task that’ll probably take him only another three or four years.
He is in the prime of his career, having turned 27 two weeks ago.
He has been saying for nearly a year that he wants to commit to the Bears rather than test the market and go to the highest bidder.
But here they are, eight months into the offseason, and there’s no deal.
“That’s pretty much out of my control,” Robinson said Tuesday. “Again, I can’t pinpoint anything. That’s not really of my concern.
“My main focus is on [the opener] and this year, and I truly mean that. Unless any contract things change or anything like that, I don’t really have an answer for that.”
It has long been assumed that general manager Ryan Pace would get the Robinson deal done this offseason — and he has finalized one contract at the end of the preseason each of the last four years, so that seems to be his preferred window for this — but it’s hard to view that as a certainty at this point.
A month and a half ago, Robinson told ESPN Radio that his agent hadn’t heard from the Bears, and “we’re not necessarily anticipating hearing anything at this point.”
You’d think a team as starved for a big-time receiver as the Bears traditionally have been would move quicker. In only 29 games, Robinson already is in their all-time top 40 in receiving and would crack the top 15 this season if he replicates his 2019 yardage.
His 98 catches, 1,147 yards and seven touchdowns last season — with Mitch Trubisky at quarterback, no less — made him the Bears’ first 1,000-yard man since Alshon Jeffery in 2014.
Did you know they went a decade without one? And this wasn’t back in the day when gas was a nickel and they ran the T-formation. It was 2002 (Marty Booker) through ’12 (Brandon Marshall).
One guy who doesn’t need all this spelled out for him is coach Matt Nagy, who blurted, “I hope so,” when asked if Robinson is part of the Bears’ plans beyond this season.
“I think he shows what he can do,” Nagy said. “For us, that’s Ryan and [director of football administration Joey Laine]. That’s their world. That’s Allen’s world. There’s a whole process to that.
“But I know how we all feel. I know how he feels. When you produce the way that he produces and are the type of person he is, those are the type of people that you want for a while.”
That’s coming from a man who knows his offense is full of question marks and Robinson might be the only starter he can depend on without hesitation.
The Bears think running back David Montgomery is an ascending star. They hope Jimmy Graham still has something left.
They know what Robinson is.
They also know what he’s worth. The baseline to extend him is probably a little bit above the four-year, $64 million deal Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen got last year (all the stats are in Robinson’s favor, and he is three years younger), and a $16 million average salary would slot him 10th at his position in 2021.
Robinson’s average pay from the three-year, $42 million contract Pace signed him to in 2018 puts him 14th this season. He has outplayed his salary, which is a win for Pace.
That was a good move. Now it’s time to make another one and keep him.