Time hasn't run out on a contract extension for Allen Robinson, but the clock's certainly ticking. What was first expected to get done in the spring (and then the summer, and now early fall) hasn't happened yet, though many always saw Labor Day weekend as the prime window for the Bears and Robinson to get a deal done. Pace, however, isn't one of those people.
"I don't see this week as the deadline," Pace told reporters during a press conference on Monday afternoon. "I know this is the generic answer and all this, but you know when we work on these deals, we know how important A-Rob is to us – not just as a player, but as a teammate. But those things are going to remain behind the scene as we work through the process."
If the Ryan Pace Labor Day Extension isn't happening, realistically, it leaves both sides with less than a week to agree to terms. Mid-season extensions are few and far between, and when Robinson talked last week, he suggested that he had already shifted his focus away from the business side of football.
"That's pretty much out of my control," Robinson said on September 1st. "Again, I can't pinpoint anything like that. Even for me, I've said this before, it's out of my concern. Last time I came in here, we had a month before a game. Now it's 12 days or something like that. My main focus is on Detroit and this year, and I truly mean that. Any contract things change, I don't really have an answer for that."
Some have wondered how seriously the timeline for a new deal was disrupted by COVID-19. The team spent a vast majority of the early offseason apart, and much of the summer was spent working on the new logistics that a socially distanced season requires. There's also the concern that the pandemic will cause the salary cap to fall next season – a ripple effect that would hit the Bears and their relatively small amount of 2021 cap space (currently estimated at $9.4 million) especially hard. Pace mentioned that he and Director of Football Administration Joey Laine are still working through the parameters of what the cap will look like, but are ready to get creative in making their plans work regardless.
"We’re still working through some of the details and waiting on some of the details with the salary cap," he said. "We have an idea what the floor will be. Once we’re given those parameters – look, the whole league is operating under the same rules and as we always do, I have a lot of confidence in Joey Laine as we work through that. There’s some curveballs but we’re confident we’ll work through it.
"That’s not going to permit us from doing the things that we want to do."