Chicago Bears: How extending Allen Robinson can free up cap space

Chicago Bears (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)
Chicago Bears (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Bears are up to just over $26 million in cap space, but the team not only needs to add some free agent help, but it also needs to sign its own pending free agents. Extending Allen Robinson could make that much easier.

The Chicago Bears have already made some offseason moves to free up salary-cap space. Kyle Long retiring, followed by Kyle Fuller restructuring his contract and the expected cuts for Prince Amukamara and Taylor Gabriel gives Ryan Pace just over $26 million in cap space.

During his press conference yesterday at the NFL Combine, Ryan Pace made mention that extending Allen Robinson has been something he and others in the front office have discussed internally. He spoke highly of Robinson stating that he is a good player and does many things on and off the field for this team.

Extending Robinson was an obvious move for Pace and the Chicago Bears to make. Robinson was easily the best offensive player on the team in 2019. He was solid in 2018 too, but now fully recovered from his knee injury, Robinson looks to be just outside that elite status again.

Going into the 2020 season, Robinson is scheduled to make $15 million dollars. This is the final year of his deal. The team could potentially cut him and save $13 million dollars, but that makes zero sense in the grand scheme of things. Especially when an extension can free up a few million anyway.

If I was Ryan Pace, I would be looking to give Robinson a four-year extension. I would increase his average salary to $16.5 million. This would be equal to Mike Evans and rank fifth among wide receiver salary at this point in the offseason (things could change with Amari Cooper contract looming).

The extension would allow Pace and the Chicago Bears the ability to re-work the numbers. Instead of a $15 million cap hit in 2020, the team could keep a top-10 wide receiver in the league and free up cap space in the meantime. The extension would basically be worth $66 million dollars and the team should incentivize it. Meaning, the most Robinson could earn is an additional $66 million, but that will require him to hit certain marks. The incentives should be worth around $8 million.

Next. How Trubisky's shoulder affected 2019. dark

Pace should fully guarantee $43 million of the deal and then move money around to lower the cap hit for 2020. Essentially, the contract would be a little backloaded. Robinson would earn more “cash” this year anyway as the team would be giving him cash as a signing bonus. The signing bonus can be spread out over the length of the contract. The team should be able to save a minimum of $5 million in cap space for 2020 with this or a similar extension.