Going back to the last offseason, fans have been clamoring for the Chicago Bears to extend their star wide receiver, Allen Robinson and yet no deal is expected to be reached by the franchise tag deadline per Ian Rapoport.
The Chicago Bears need to get Allen Robinson’s contract situation figured out.
Many have pointed the finger at general manager Ryan Pace, questioning why he would not extend Robinson to let him grow alongside Justin Fields. However, upon reading the tea leaves and examining Pace’s recent history extending players, another story begins to unfold involving head coach Matt Nagy.
The Chicago Bears must extend Allen Robinson and given Pace’s track record handing out extensions in Chicago, the lack of movement in Robinson’s contract talks is alarming.
Looking at Ryan Pace’s track record, it’s abundantly clear that getting extensions done and signing the players he’s brought in has never been an issue. Here’s a look at some of the contracts Pace has handed out in the last three seasons:
- Gave Khalil Mack a record-setting contract
- Made Eddie Jackson the NFL’s highest-paid safety
- Extended Eddie Goldman (4 years, 42 million)
- Extended Tarik Cohen (3 years, 17 million)
- Signed Robert Quinn (5 years, 70 million)
This has all happened over the past three years and given this track record, it’s easy to understand why Bears fans have been confused about the lack of traction on Allen Robinson’s contract talks. For a player who came in saying he wanted to re-write the Bears record books for wide receivers, retire as a Chicago Bear, has been an absolute stud on the field, and has been a consummate professional off of it – what possible reason could justify the lack of an extension?
There are some who would point to the finances – that Robinson is demanding a contract that Pace can’t afford given the Bears’ current cap situation. However, they were ready to move money into next year to make room for Kenny Golladay (to who they reportedly offered a massive multi-year deal) so if they wanted to, Allen Robinson could have already had his extension.
Additionally, the Chicago Bears will have an estimated 50 million dollars in cap space next summer with only David Montgomery and Roquan Smith in line to receive extensions – further undermining the idea that money is why Robinson has yet to be extended. This leaves Chicago Bears’ Head Coach Matt Nagy as the most likely reason why Allen Robinson has not been extended.
Matt Nagy has quietly obtained more control over the Bears’ personnel decisions than those in the media and fans have realized. During the draft process, Pace noted how involved Nagy is in the scouting process as he filed scouting reports alongside the scouts for almost every player the Bears were interested in.
Even Louis Riddick commented, following the selection of Justin Fields, that the pick had Matt Nagy’s fingerprints all over it. So, is it possible that his power has even extended to having a larger say in who the Bears extend and let walk?
The Chicago Bears and Allen Robinson have been “engaged” in trade talks dating back to last season and earlier this offseason it was arguably the second most pressing issue the team faced behind, obviously, figuring out the quarterback position. However, there has been little to no news surrounding these talks with most updates reiterating that no progress has been made.
Even Nagy’s comments surrounding Robinson don’t provide much optimism for a deal. Take a look at what he had to say about the Allen Robinson situation back in early March:
A-Rob [Allen Robinson] knows how much we love him…A-Rob knows how much that me as a head coach and Ryan as a general manager, the importance that he brings to the city, to the organization, to his teammates, to all of us. And then…the things that he has done with us and the things we have done for him, being able to help him be productive, now you get to this point. And this is where Ryan and Joey will do their thing and A-rob and his agent work together and you try to figure out” – Matt Nagy via Kevin Fishbain of the Athletic
This sounds more like a thank you note to Allen Robinson for his efforts in Chicago than a ringing endorsement or an outspoken push for management to get this done at all costs.
For example, when asked about Lamar Jackson’s impending contract extension, Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh did not even bat an eye as he called it a “done deal” per Mike Garafolo. That is how you use your influence as a coach to keep the best players on your team – something Nagy failed to do with Robinson on countless occasions.
Furthermore, it has become apparent to me that Matt Nagy is attempting to build an “Andy Reid” roster in Chicago. His two prior coaching stints with Reid were in Philadelphia and Kansas City. In Philadelphia, he worked with an offense built around the speedy DeSean Jackson as the primary wide receiver and a tight end in Brent Celek underneath whose career peaked from 2009 to 2011 when Nagy was on the coaching staff. In Kansas City, he worked with and coordinated an offense built around arguably the best tight end in the game in Travis Kelce and arguably the fastest wide receiver in NFL history in Tyreek Hill.
Nagy has shown that he can be extremely stubborn about his vision for the offense, seeking to play his style more than catering the scheme and play-calling to the strengths of his players. Is it possible that he has his eye on other free-agent wide receivers in 2022 that he would prefer over Allen Robinson who doesn’t offer the same top-line speed Nagy has enjoyed in his two other coaching stints?
All in all, this is what is known: Allen Robinson not being extended is a mystery despite Ryan Pace having a history of getting these types of deals done early and Matt Nagy has been more involved in personnel decisions historically made solely by the front office – a combination of facts that makes it hard to ignore Nagy’s likely involvement in this entire situation.
The Chicago Bears have a star wide-receiver, something they have never really had. Additionally, it appears they have found their quarterback of the future. The fact that they wouldn’t do everything in their power to keep the star wide-out with their young quarterback is astonishing and it has become increasingly clear that the man behind the stalemate is none other than head coach Matt Nagy.