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’85 Bear Dennis McKinnon: WR Allen Robinson isn’t great, but Bears must pay up

McKinnon, who was named one of the top 100 Bears of all time last year, doesn’t think Robinson is “a game-changer.” But he says the Bears need to meet his asking price or trade him.

Dennis McKinnon, one of the Bears’ best offensive weapons in their 1985 championship season, is not overly impressed by Allen Robinson.
Dennis McKinnon, one of the Bears’ best offensive weapons in their 1985 championship season, is not overly impressed by Allen Robinson.
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Former Bears wide receiver Dennis McKinnon, a standout on their 1985 championship team, agrees with the growing wave of fan support to sign Allen Robinson to an extension — reluctantly.

While Robinson’s reported goal of $18 million per season seems way too high to McKinnon, he believes the Bears drove that price up by overpaying for him with a three-year, $42 million deal in 2018.

“When you’re asking for that kind of money ... you think about Julio Jones, Odell Beckham, DeAndre Hopkins — guys who are game changers and deep threats,” McKinnon said Friday. “Those are two things that don’t apply to Allen Robinson.

“But the Bears brought him in at $14 million. Whose fault is that? The Bears’. You overvalued and put him at a mark where now he believes he deserves more. You already paid him more than any team would’ve paid him. You put yourself in this predicament, Ryan Pace, so you have a choice: He’s not a game changer and he’s not worth what he’s asking for, but because you gave him that kind of money three years ago, you have to either pay him or trade him.”

The Bears gambled on Robinson coming off a torn ACL, and he rewarded them by being their best offensive player. Since his arrival, despite missing three games and playing through his recovery from the knee injury, Robinson leads the team in offensive yardage (2,018), touchdowns (11) and catches (161).

Last season, despite Mitch Trubisky’s struggles, Robinson was 14th in the NFL in yards receiving (1,147), seventh in catches (98) and 16th in touchdown receptions (seven).

“Production is very easy: If [Trubisky] is only looking for [Robinson] — I could catch 10 balls a game if I’m the only guy you’re throwing to,” McKinnon said. “So from that standpoint, it’s easy to put up 80 or 90 catches when you’re the only guy the quarterback is throwing to.

“Are teams going to game plan for Allen Robinson? Most teams don’t. Allen Robinson is not a game changer, but in this offense, he is productive and they put a number on him that they are gonna have to eat if they don’t trade him. What he’s asking for, based on the production, he deserves the money. But nobody else in the league is gonna pay him that.”

McKinnon made the Bears’ roster as an undrafted free agent and played for them from 1983 through ’89. He was second to Willie Gault on the ’85 team with 555 yards and second to Walter Payton in total touchdowns with seven.

McKinnon landed at No. 79 on the team’s Top 100 list to celebrate its 100th season last year.

In retirement, he has joined some of his ’85 teammates — Jim McMahon and Mike Singletary, included — on Cameo, a Chicago-based website where people can purchase personalized video messages from celebrities.