Allen Robinson's season-ending comments indicated he's getting ready to play hardball with Bears management if they even want him back.
In other words, the price is going up, and who could blame him after the contributions he made at a low cost.
Indeed, Spotrac.com fixes a market price to free agents and Robinson's once was around $17 million annually but now sits at $19.9 million.
Buried late in an 85-minute waste of cyberspace Wednesday known as a Zoom conference was what general manager Ryan Pace thinks about chances of getting a deal done with Robinson.
The thinking all offseason has been the Bears had little money next year to get anything done because they're up against the salary cap.
They are, but they aren't.
"We have to be conscious," Pace said of the cap situation. "Obviously, as you know every year there's ways to create cap space and those are all important decisions that we have to make.
"It kind of starts with that, evaluating our own roster and talking (over) some of those things. That's real."
Pace obviously is looking at restructuring some contracts, as the Bears have n the past. They've done extensive restructuring to create cash, and will again.
They do get to carry over about $7.8 million unspent from this year according to Spotrac.com. They're already counting $2.6 million a year guaranteed against the cap for a restructuring of Khalil Mack's contract, $1.394 million a year on Charles Leno's deal, $800,000 on Cody Whitehair's and $750,000 a year on Eddie Goldman's.
Players like Akiem Hicks ($10.4 million), Kyle Fuller ($13 million), Robert Quinn ($11.5 million) and Eddie Jackson ($8.95 million) all have large non-guaranteed salary figures for next season easily converted to guaranteed money to count against the cap in future years to free up space.
Mack's contract remains a well to draw upon at $17.05 million non-guaranteed next year which could also be reworked.
When Pace mentioned roster evaluation, he's obviously talking about gaining cash back by cutting players with big figures who should be easily replaced. The Bears did this with Prince Amukamara and Taylor Gabriel and quickly replaced both with Jaylon Johnson and Darnell Mooney.
Some players who fit this category for 2021 are tackle Bobby Massie, slot cornerback Buster Skrine and possibly tight end Jimmy Graham, although in Graham's case the benefit of one more year might outweight the small cap savings.
The Bears can afford to get players they need to make the jump from 8-8 to a legitimate playoff team, and not one needing to back in on other teams' losses.
The only question is whether it should be Robinson they're spending money on, or a ke player at another position.
Perhaps it could be for a free agent quarterback or one acquired via trade.