Before I allow myself to dive into Allen Robinson, the football player, and his future with the Chicago Bears, it would be unbecoming of me to not mention his work in the community.
— Allen Robinson II (@AllenRobinson) March 28, 2020
Robinson is using his Within Reach Foundation to help provide meals for Chicago Public Schools students in need while COVID-19 keeps schools closed. It has inspired teammates such as Charles Leno Jr. and his coach Matt Nagy to pitch in with donations, too. You can donate by following the link here, if you so choose. These are tough times for many. So to see a player of Robinson’s gravitas spearhead an effort to give to the community, it is deserves our full attention.
With that being said, there will come a time to talk football. And when it comes to Robinson, the time will come to talk about an extension.
Robinson has expressed his interest and desire to stay with the Bears. And in turn, the team has had discussions regarding a contract extension that would keep Robinson beyond the final year of his contract, which expires at the end of the 2020 season. None of that has changed, which is good.
More recently, when it comes to an extension, Robinson echoed familiar sentiments to Jason Lieser of the Chicago Sun-Times, saying: “I’m not sure what to expect, but everyone knows where I stand.”
In speaking with Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune, Robinson shared a more hopeful perspective: “Definitely optimistic. But optimistic or not, I am in Chicago and everybody knows where I stand and how I feel about Chicago. At the end of the day, whatever happens, happens.”
Even though there is nothing particularly imminent (as far as we can tell from the outside), it is good news that Robinson and the Bears still appear to be on the same page as far as getting an extension done. And they should be. Robinson likes Chicago. And in turn, Chicago likes Robinson. Because in addition to being a standout performer on the field, he is also a helpful hand in the community. So at what point does Robinson get rewarded with a deal? And what would it look like?
Amari Cooper’s deal with the Cowboys could probably be useful as a landmark. A four-time Pro Bowl performer, who’s racked up four 1,000-yard seasons in his first five campaigns as a pro, Cooper is as good as they come. And to keep him from fully exploring the free agent market in March, the Cowboys signed Cooper to a five-year pact worth $100 million — which happens to be the largest total value contract for a receiver in NFL history. The contract comes with a $20M AAV and $60 million in total guarantees. This deal is going to be a baseline for top-of-the-market receivers, of which Robinson is right now.
Other recent deals of note include Michael Thomas (the Saints made him the highest-paid WR in July 2019, though that didn’t last long), Odell Beckham Jr. (who signed the largest receiver contract in NFL history in August 2018, which lasted until Thomas lapped him), Adam Thielen (whose $16.2M AAV still checks in among the top-10), and Davante Adams (whose deal put him in the top-10 when it was signed in December 2017).
Looking at Thielen and Adams’ deals, I wonder if perhaps the Bears should be aiming to make Robinson the highest-paid receiver in the NFC North. A deal that comes with an average annual value of $17 million feels like a good place to start. And if you consider that the 2020 NFL Franchise Tag tender was $17.865 million, then you can envision what a deal might look like when it is all said and done.
Robinson can reasonably command top dollar in an extension. He is 26, coming off a Pro Bowl caliber year, looks fully healthy now that he is two seasons removed from ACL surgery, and happens to be the Bears’ best and most consistent offensive performer. Those factors should add up to Robinson cashing in with a huge (and well deserved) pay day.