- Jeff Dickerson, ESPN Staff Writer
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LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- With the ink now dry on Earl Bennett's four-year extension, the next Chicago Bears wide receiver in line for a new deal figures to be Johnny Knox, who has one year left (signed through 2012) on his original rookie contract.
But serious talks between Knox's agent Marc Lillibridge and the Bears have yet to take place, according to the wide receiver, which means formal discussions regarding an extension might be tabled until the offseason at the earliest.
"If they came to you and tried to give you an extension, I guess things would be going through your mind, but they haven't asked me," Knox said Friday.
"It's just been good for me to focus on football and not worry about contract stuff. My time will come. I'm not trying to worry about that now. I've still got a season to finish."
Knox, 25, began training camp on a low note when he got bumped down to the second team in favor of Roy Williams, but the former 2009 fifth-round draft choice leads the NFL with an average of 20.5 yards per reception, and is tops amongst Bears wideouts with 33 catches for 675 yards.
Last season, Knox ranked fifth in the league in receiving average (18.8) and posted career-highs with 55 catches for 960 yards.
"Things started off slow for me, but just like it happened last year, it's not how you start it's how you finish," Knox said. "That's what I'm going to do, keep finishing strong and help my team make the playoffs."
Eventually the Bears will be forced to put a monetary value on Knox's abilities.
Bennett and his agent C.J. Laboy negotiated a deal that contains a potential total value of $18 million, and includes $9 million in guarantees, plus a $6 million signing bonus. Those guaranteed figures compare favorably with recent contracts signed by fellow receivers Jordy Nelson, Lance Moore, Mike Thomas and Steve Breaston.
However, Knox is believed to be looking for a more lucrative extension, according to a league source.
Knox can make a fairly strong case for a better deal based on career numbers. In one less season (Bennett's rookie year was 2008), Knox has 129 receptions for 2,162 yards and 12 touchdowns compared to Bennett's 119 catches for 1,559 yards and six touchdowns.
But Bears general manager Jerry Angelo made his philosophy on awarding extensions clear during the Matt Forte saga over the summer. The Bears negotiate differently with a player already under contract, as opposed to a free agent on the open market. Bennett was scheduled to be a free agent at the end of the year, which no doubt factored into the Bears' final offer.
For Knox, all he can do is wait and continue his level of production. In the last three weeks, the speedy receiver has caught 12 balls for 295 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
"I'm just doing what I'm supposed to do," Knox said.