Grim Reality Facing Bears with New Deal for Allen Robinson
The decision by the NFL and NFLPA to push revenue losses due to COVID-19 into multiple future years might look like disaster for the Bears' chances of signing wide receiver Allen Robinson II to a contract extension.
This isn't necessarily the case.
One of Robinson's greatest proponents on the team could have a big hand in setting up the receiver for years to come.
Robinson might come in around $19 million average per year based on the top averages of the best wide receivers according to Spotrac.com. This would be difficult to manage for the Bears with a drop in the salary cap to $175 million.
The $175 million figure is the maximum drop allowable under a negotiated COVID-19 revision. Considering the expected loss in revenue due to empty stadiums, it's unlikely to come in much above this figure.
The Bears are already projected to be $15 million over the cap for next year, and among eight teams in the league who are over the cap.
To get below it enough to pay Robinson next year will take some doing, maybe even miracle working.
Some of the money they need will be on the cap for this year already. They're a little over $10 million under this year's cap and have to save some of it for players they might need to pick up in case of injuries, but can devote some of this year's cap to that total.
Restructuring Khalil Mack's contract again could provide some cash. He is still receiving $2.6 million per year as per Spotrac.com for a past restructuring bonus but there is no limit on what the Bears could turn into bonus out of his salary on the contract.
They could also do a contract extension or restructure Akiem Hicks' deal. Of his $12 million of cap space next year, $10.4 million is non-guaranteed salary. They could get him an extension and float bonus money over future years.
They may need to also to consider:
- Cutting one of their starting tackles. Because Charles Leno Jr. has a salary of $8.9 million and Bobby Massie $7.9 million, both can provide cap relief if cut. Leno would bring back $6.2 million and Massie $5.4 million.
- Cutting Jimmy Graham. Many assume this is going to happen anyway because of Graham's age and his departure before next season saves the Bears $7 million against the cap.
- Cutting Buster Skrine before 2021. This supplies another $2.8 million in cap savings. It might look like chump change but every little bit adds up. This would leave them without their starting nickel cornerback but one of Skrine's two understudies could be ready to take over by then Duke Shelley or Kindle Vildor.
- There is one other sure way to provide tons of cap relief but it seems ill advised. That would be cutting cornerback Kyle Fuller. He would save them $11 million if cut. To do this would require great advancement by one of the young cornerbacks on their roster besides Jaylon Johnson, who already will be counted on to play right cornerback. Fuller is just too good to let leave this way
They could also simply let Robinson leave.
Considering what they may have to give up to keep him, and that they have a few potential bigger receivers on the roster already in 6-foot-2 Javon Wims and 6-1 Riley Ridley, along with undrafted 6-5, 238-pound rookie Ahmad Wagner, the simplest and less taxing decision could be to just let Robinson leave.