EX­TEN­SION AC­CORD A MUST

Bears should’ve worked out deal with Robin­son long time ago

Chicago Sun-Times - - SPORTS - JA­SON LIESER jlieser@suntimes.com | @Ja­sonLieser

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. Why? “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.

“THAT’S PRETTY MUCH OUT OF MY CON­TROL.” ALLEN ROBIN­SON, Bears wide re­ceiver, on the lack of a con­tract ex­ten­sion

GETTY IM­AGES

Wide re­ceiver Allen Robin­son is un­ques­tion­ably the Bears’ best of­fen­sive weapon.

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