Time is relative.
2 hours of scrolling twitter during the first days of NFL free agency can feel like 20 minutes.

10 minutes of reading 2020 power rankings, weeks after the draft ended while in the middle of a quarantine, can feel like an hour. We’re entering the dog days of the NFL season, where teams are mostly set and signings are few and far between.

The Chicago Bears have roughly $9.2 million in cap space, but with a couple, contract costs still unannounced and few remaining roster holes, don’t expect many more additions outside of smaller depth pieces. One of the few things giving Bears fans hope is that lead receiver Allen Robinson is due an extension as he enters the final year of his contract. Injuries and quarterback play have led to Robinson being under-appreciated outside of Duval County and Lori Lightfoot’s territory, but the national media is coming around to the idea that Robinson is about to be paid as one of the game’s elite receivers. Ryan Pace’s history though shows us that Bears fans may not have relative time on their side for an announcement of said extension.

Fans, analysts, and even teammates are shouting from the rooftops the need to get Robinson locked up for the foreseeable future. A young 26 years old with six seasons under his belt, the wide receiver is primed to cash in on a top deal at the position. Amari Cooper signed his notable 5 years, $100 million agreement which had Robinson literally giddy with excitement.

With such a fresh deal and similar career statistics, the Chicago star’s next deal should at least be in the same ballpark as the Cooper contract.

While worth the money, the sizable annual deal has to at least cause Pace to search every avenue to ensure the contract structure is the right move for the Bears organization.

With multiple players on $10 million+ per year deals along with other players needing to get paid in the next couple of years (QB, Smith, Miller, Daniels), the GM has to be positive the contracts all line up properly. Losing the team’s best playmaker would be a huge blow so the goal is still to get an extension done, Pace just needs to be 100% confident that he can work it incorrectly amidst all the other cash floating around.

That being said, a Robinson extension is still a foregone conclusion. We can point to Pace’s extension history for further proof that it may be a long summer for Bears fans as September has proven to be his sweet spot.

Take a look at the dates on some of the Bears’ recent extensions…

  • Akiem Hicks – September 9, 2017
  • Eddie Goldman – September 7, 2018
  • Cody Whitehair – September 1, 2019

That is three years in a row with a September extension for a top Bears player. It is clear Pace prefers to lock up his players early enough so that negotiations do not distract during the season, yet long enough into the offseason that the team is all but certainly done with making moves. Injuries happen during offseason training, positional needs open as deteriorating play happens, and cuts can be made to free up even more space. These are all factors that Pace will want to account for as he finalizes preparations for the upcoming season before extensions are completed. Even Eddie Goldman’s contract was signed after the monumental Khalil Mack trade occurring just eight days before the Bears’ opening game.

Bobby Massie and Eddie Jackson are the only exceptions to this rule with signings in January. Massie was simply a case of resigning him before he became an unrestricted free agent in March while the choice was made to extend Jackson at the time amid rising safety prices for the top players. This does not take away from the fact that it has been Ryan Pace’s m.o. to wait until the last minute to deliver players with their well-deserved extensions.

A contract extension will get done for Allen Robinson. The Bears fans may riot and force Pace out of his job if he elects to not extend Robinson and he proceeds to ball out and leave town.
It simply may be a long wait in the middle of a slow-moving summer offseason that is already filled with so much uncertainty.

Featured Image: Charles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press
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