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What an Allen Robinson extension might look like

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I used the Adam Thielen contract as a relative guide for value, with essentially matching AAV and a slight uptick in guarantees:

5 years, $80M extension (making for 6 years, $95M total), $29M in total guarantees (+ $6.5M 2020 roster bonus paid right away). $13M signing bonus ($2M bonus amortization carry over still to be accrued in 2020 under the current deal factored into cap numbers).

2020: $10M CAP HIT - $1M base, $2.5M SB, $6.5M roster bonus

2021: $14M CAP HIT - $8M base, $2.5M SB, $3.5M roster bonus

2022: $15M CAP HIT - $10M base, $2.5M SB, $2.5M roster bonus

2023: $17.5M CAP HIT - $10M base, $2.5M SB, $5M roster bonus

2024: $19M CAP HIT - $10M base, $2.5M SB, $6.5M roster bonus

2025: $19.5M CAP HIT - $10M base, $2.5M SB, $7M roster bonus

-Full base guarantees in 2020 and 2021 

-$7M base guarantee 2022

-$46.5M in the first 3 seasons 

-Potential outs: 2023 ($7.5M dead cap), 2024 ($5M dead cap), 2025 ($2.5M dead cap)

Edited by AZBearsFan

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This would lock in our best offensive player for at least 3 seasons and probably 4, and would save us $5M against the 2020 cap. It would also put ARob in the top 10 in terms of WR AAV. Classic win-win. 

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It should get done before free agency.

I wonder if the QB situation may play into this. Perhaps Robinson does not want to tie himself to a team with such uncertainty at QB.

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23 minutes ago, WindyCity said:

It should get done before free agency.

I wonder if the QB situation may play into this. Perhaps Robinson does not want to tie himself to a team with such uncertainty at QB.

From all accounts Robinson loves it in Chicago.  I know a lot of times it's just player speak, but I get the sense he really wants to be a part of this franchise for a long time.

I see them getting something done before FA.

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1 hour ago, WindyCity said:

It should get done before free agency.

I wonder if the QB situation may play into this. Perhaps Robinson does not want to tie himself to a team with such uncertainty at QB.

Normally I’d agree with this, but with ARob we’re talking about a guy who’s put up top tier production with Bortles and 2019 Trubisky, and in Chicago he’s on a team that’s probably a playoff team with even average overall offensive output for at least the next few years with the nucleus in place on defense. 

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That seems to be on the lowest side possible, imo.  Although, I'd buy him dinner if he agreed to it though. Theilen's contract is also not a template I would use for a plethora of reasons.

Without seeing incentives and other factors, you seem to be low balling him big time. Especially since he and his agent have the upper hand here.

When we signed Robinson he signed a contract for 6M SB and 25.2M in total guaranteed money with 18M (42.9%) fully guaranteed. You're only offering him an additional 500k in signing bonus,  an addition +3.8M in total guaranteed,  and only an additional +1M in fully guaranteed money.   

That's a little low for a guy who has accounted for 22% of the entire team's total receptions, 28% of the passing yardage, and 24% of the total passing TD's in a stagnant offense within the last 2 years........ AFTER doing the same thing for the first 3 years in the league on his previous team. And this is coming from someone who doesn't necessarily see him as a true #1 WR either. He needs someone opposite of him in order to take off some of the pressure to really showcase his true potential and bring out the best in him, and I'm not sure we have that yet. 

Given the circumstances, we haven't had a player as important to our offense right as him since Forte. Regardless of who we end up with at QB....he can help a lot.

Robinson's contract situation is unique given how young he was as a rookie and how his ill-advised timely injury that led to an unusually low contract for a player of his potential.

Think about it. A 1st round 21-year-old WR who showed an immense amount of talent for 3 years before suffering an injury the year before his rookie contract ended--which worried a lot of GM's and scouts long-term because of its severity. So despite the concerns, he tests free agency and a team takes a chance by signing him a to a 3-year contract at the age of 25, whereas most WR's would have received a 4 or 5-year contract. The chance ultimately pays off when he performs at a relatively high level for the next 2 years and erases any more doubt about his injury at the age of 26 (will barely be 27 at the start of the season) and is now looking at his third deal.

This will be Robinson's 3rd NFL contract at the age of 26 years old and so it's hard to judge which current wide receiver to base it on.  Most WR's who have been drafted since the rookie pay-scale was induced are still working on their 2nd contract.

Julio was 22 years old when he entered the league and 29 years old before he signed his 3rd contract. Thomas, Hill, ODB, Evans, Cooks, Hopkins, Watkins, and Landry are all still working on their 2nd contracts. You can't even compare Thielen since he was an undrafted rookie who played ST's in his first 3 years in the league.

IMO, he's gonna succeed/equal Evans type money.

tldr; A slightly above (or matching) contract that Mike Evans got a couple of years ago is probably closer to what we can expect.

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13 hours ago, JustAnotherFan said:

That seems to be on the lowest side possible, imo.  Although, I'd buy him dinner if he agreed to it though. Theilen's contract is also not a template I would use for a plethora of reasons.

Without seeing incentives and other factors, you seem to be low balling him big time. Especially since he and his agent have the upper hand here.

When we signed Robinson he signed a contract for 6M SB and 25.2M in total guaranteed money with 18M (42.9%) fully guaranteed. You're only offering him an additional 500k in signing bonus,  an addition +3.8M in total guaranteed,  and only an additional +1M in fully guaranteed money.   

That's a little low for a guy who has accounted for 22% of the entire team's total receptions, 28% of the passing yardage, and 24% of the total passing TD's in a stagnant offense within the last 2 years........ AFTER doing the same thing for the first 3 years in the league on his previous team. And this is coming from someone who doesn't necessarily see him as a true #1 WR either. He needs someone opposite of him in order to take off some of the pressure to really showcase his true potential and bring out the best in him, and I'm not sure we have that yet. 

Given the circumstances, we haven't had a player as important to our offense right as him since Forte. Regardless of who we end up with at QB....he can help a lot.

Robinson's contract situation is unique given how young he was as a rookie and how his ill-advised timely injury that led to an unusually low contract for a player of his potential.

Think about it. A 1st round 21-year-old WR who showed an immense amount of talent for 3 years before suffering an injury the year before his rookie contract ended--which worried a lot of GM's and scouts long-term because of its severity. So despite the concerns, he tests free agency and a team takes a chance by signing him a to a 3-year contract at the age of 25, whereas most WR's would have received a 4 or 5-year contract. The chance ultimately pays off when he performs at a relatively high level for the next 2 years and erases any more doubt about his injury at the age of 26 (will barely be 27 at the start of the season) and is now looking at his third deal.

This will be Robinson's 3rd NFL contract at the age of 26 years old and so it's hard to judge which current wide receiver to base it on.  Most WR's who have been drafted since the rookie pay-scale was induced are still working on their 2nd contract.

Julio was 22 years old when he entered the league and 29 years old before he signed his 3rd contract. Thomas, Hill, ODB, Evans, Cooks, Hopkins, Watkins, and Landry are all still working on their 2nd contracts. You can't even compare Thielen since he was an undrafted rookie who played ST's in his first 3 years in the league.

IMO, he's gonna succeed/equal Evans type money.

tldr; A slightly above (or matching) contract that Mike Evans got a couple of years ago is probably closer to what we can expect.

Your point about Robinson’s importance to the Bears makes sense but Evans got paid at the top of the market because he’s a superior performer to Robinson.

How Thielen arrived in the league has no real importance to the discussion IMO. At the time of his extension 4/2019 he was coming off 91/1276/4 in 2017 and 113/1373/9 in 2018. He was an established stud. Thielen’s numbers at signing and those of Robinson are a pretty solid comp and even slightly in Thielen’s favor (ARob was 98/1147/7 in 2019), and it’s not as though this contract would be a slap in the face - Robinson’s AAV would be 10th in the league on that deal. I don’t think there’s a standard by which Robinson can really argue for being better than the 10th best player at his position. The guys remaining ahead of him in AAV in this scenario (Julio, Thomas, OBJ, Tyreek, Evans, Cooks, Hopkins, Thielen and Watkins) are 6 guys arguably on a HOF trajectory (Julio, Thomas and Hopkins for sure; Evans, OBJ and Hill with an argument) beyond their rookie deals, Cooks (whose contract is an outlier), Watkins (who signed with UFA leverage ARob doesn’t have) and Thielen (whose contract I used as the basis for comparison). He’s in some pretty elite company there. 

FWIW the difference in AAV between Cooks and Thielen is < $200k. 

Edited by AZBearsFan

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I think to get Robinson to sign an early extension you will need to get closer to Evans than Thielen. When Thielen signed his deal he had multiple years left on a bad contract and less money in the bank.

Otherwise Robinson, who has 35 million in career earnings and another 15 coming his way should just wait for the open market.

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On 1/24/2020 at 3:24 PM, AZBearsFan said:

Your point about Robinson’s importance to the Bears makes sense but Evans got paid at the top of the market because he’s a superior performer to Robinson.

Oh I agree. But Evans got paid based on what the market value was 2 years and, as I'm sure you know, the market goes up every single year. So Robinson getting paid closer to what Evans got 2 years would put him the ballpark of his value. 

Now, is he truly worth that much, I don't know? I'll save that for another discussion. But I do know that we see players getting paid way more than they should, all the time. It's just how the market works.

On 1/24/2020 at 3:24 PM, AZBearsFan said:

How Thielen arrived in the league has no real importance to the discussion IMO.

I think it does because of the age difference, team importance (they still have Diggs), and his previous contracts vs Robinson's. All of which are points of contention in the eyes of a player and Agent.

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We’re splitting hairs here for the most part, aren’t we? The AAV difference between Evans’ and Thielen’s contracts < $500k. If they guarantee more of it then the team takes on more risk in terms of potential dead cap space should they decide to cut him down the road but beyond that the structure of the deal is where my focus was. The annual difference between cap hits on 5/80 and 5/82.5 is just $500k. That’s only slightly more than the league minimum for a UDFA rookie. It’s completely negligible. My overriding point was that when we extend him (I can’t see us not doing so) it should open up $4-5M in cap space. 

Edited by AZBearsFan

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23 hours ago, AZBearsFan said:

We’re splitting hairs here for the most part, aren’t we? The AAV difference between Evans’ and Thielen’s contracts < $500k. If they guarantee more of it then the team takes on more risk in terms of potential dead cap space should they decide to cut him down the road but beyond that the structure of the deal is where my focus was. The annual difference between cap hits on 5/80 and 5/82.5 is just $500k. That’s only slightly more than the league minimum for a UDFA rookie.

No, I don't think we're not splitting hairs, here. Maybe I'm just not explaining myself as clearly as I thought I was, so let me try again. ( I know, I can be long-winded...I hear it from the wife all of the time lol)

IMO, your offer to Robinson is low balling him. Not only are you not taking into consideration that this will be his 3rd contract while still in his prime (which unusual for a player of his age), but you are also only offering a pretty small gain from his current contract by comparing his extension to Theilen's, which I don't see happening. 

Robinson's contract is going to be closer to the extension that Evans received 2 years ago than what Theilen got 1 year ago (yearly inflation included).

Even if we both may agree that it's too much for him, and I do, that's just how the market works, so it is what is. He has all the leverage here. How many other WR's are throwing their hands up to play in this offense led by Mitch? 

While Theilen's APY is indeed close to Evans' now, the guaranteed money is not even close, and guaranteed money is what is most important to a team's financial structure because that's ultimately the driving force that determines a team's cap % per player, which is most important overall.

Continuing on.

23 hours ago, AZBearsFan said:

My overriding point was that when we extend him (I can’t see us not doing so) it should open up $4-5M in cap space. 

I don't think it does though. Robinson is set to make 15M this year and Evans got 18M in his first extended year. Now, will Robinson get that much in the first year being the inferior player, maybe not? But I doubt that falls anywhere under 13 either. Which only saves us 2M this year but a ton more in the next 2 seasons with no outs.

Look, how I see it. Arob is not a true #1 WR so why pay him like he is one? But at the same time, where would this offense be without him?  These are some of the issues you face when you have a stud player playing in a defunct offense with no direction.

Edited by JustAnotherFan

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8 hours ago, JustAnotherFan said:

No, I don't think we're not splitting hairs, here. Maybe I'm just not explaining myself as clearly as I thought I was, so let me try again. ( I know, I can be long-winded...I hear it from the wife all of the time lol)

IMO, your offer to Robinson is low balling him. Not only are you not taking into consideration that this will be his 3rd contract while still in his prime (which unusual for a player of his age), but you are also only offering a pretty small gain from his current contract by comparing his extension to Theilen's, which I don't see happening. 

Robinson's contract is going to be closer to the extension that Evans received 2 years ago than what Theilen got 1 year ago (yearly inflation included).

Even if we both may agree that it's too much for him, and I do, that's just how the market works, so it is what is. He has all the leverage here. How many other WR's are throwing their hands up to play in this offense led by Mitch? 

While Theilen's APY is indeed close to Evans' now, the guaranteed money is not even close, and guaranteed money is what is most important to a team's financial structure because that's ultimately the driving force that determines a team's cap % per player, which is most important overall.

Continuing on.

I don't think it does though. Robinson is set to make 15M this year and Evans got 18M in his first extended year. Now, will Robinson get that much in the first year being the inferior player, maybe not? But I doubt that falls anywhere under 13 either. Which only saves us 2M this year but a ton more in the next 2 seasons with no outs.

Look, how I see it. Arob is not a true #1 WR so why pay him like he is one? But at the same time, where would this offense be without him?  These are some of the issues you face when you have a stud player playing in a defunct offense with no direction.

I don’t see why it matters whether this is his 2nd or 3rd contract unless we’re talking about a deal being someone’s last “big” contract. Robinson is only 27 and the deal I structured is basically a 3-year guarantee before it’d be renegotiated anyway so he’s gonna get another shot at another big signing bonus here or elsewhere which is in his favor anyway. 

As to the first year cap number for Evans being higher, they can structure that any way they want. TB put a bigger number in year 1 because they had the cap space but we wouldn’t have to. How much he puts in his pocket and when is all that matters. The cap number is not tied to that in any meaningful way. He’s not actually getting his signing bonus paid out at $2.5M per year - that’s just how it’s amortized under the salary cap. He gets it right away. As I outlined it he pockets $19.5M ($13M signing bonus + $6.5M roster bonus) by like March 2020 (presumed roster bonus payout date), and $44.5M by December 2022. That’s also flexible. You can tweak the deal I outlined to structure when he gets his cash without changing the cap number. For example, flipping the roster bonuses and base salaries I set out for 2021 and 2022 won’t change the cap numbers but it’ll move up when he actually gets the money. Doing so would let him pocket $28.5M by March 2021 and $42M by March 2022, and you could bump the 2022 cash in pocket even more by making his base the league minimum and paying the rest in the roster bonus. The cap number itself is just accounting - you have to count whatever he gets paid eventually on the books but you can shift it around with a lot of flexibility as need be. It’s basically financial Tetris. 

Also, Robinson does not have ALL the leverage here. By not extending a year before FA he’d be taking on a bunch of financial risk against a serious injury. The leverage the Bears have to not overpay his market is in taking that risk off the table. He has $0 guaranteed to him beyond 2020. Plus, as you’ve pointed out already, this isn’t his first big contract, and because of that it’s entirely reasonable that he values the certainty of $45M in virtual guarantees over risking much or all of that over maybe $1M a year more should he be fortunate enough get through 2020 without a serious injury. There’s the uncertainty of 2021 with no CBA to worry about too. What if a deal isn’t worked out and there’s no football in 2021? No football means no paycheck. That’s a risk exclusive to Robinson here. If it wasn’t mutually beneficial for the non Julio Jones level players to get extended early then it would seldom happen. 

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