The Chicago Bears are hanging on to stud receiver Allen Robinson at least for now, placing their franchise tag on him ahead of Tuesday’s deadline.
While Robinson is technically slated to stay with the Bears for 2021 with this transaction, he might not wind up suiting up for Chicago this coming season.
Bears fail to sign Allen Robinson to long-term deal, settle for franchise tag
In the latest misstep by general manager Ryan Pace, he was neither able to sell Robinson on a vision for the future, nor did he show optimal respect for the wideout’s immense skills by paying him top dollar.
The so-called solution instead, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter, was to settle for the franchise tag, which is merely a band-aid to cover a larger problem.
Robinson has been saddled with some pretty horrendous quarterback play throughout his NFL career, first with Blake Bortles in Jacksonville, and lately with Mitchell Trubisky and Nick Foles in Chicago. It stands to reason he’s not thrilled with the Bears’ QB plans, given that they don’t seem to have any viable ones for 2021.
This could lead to Robinson and the organization coming to a stalemate. The 27-year-old is highly unlikely to play for the Bears unless they find a way to land a superstar to lead the offense. Anyone short of Deshaun Watson or Russell Wilson probably won’t do, and Chicago has way less cap space to take on one of their contracts after tagging Robinson.
Will Bears trade Allen Robinson despite tagging him?
Given all these circumstances, it seems almost inevitable that Robinson becomes a tag-and-trade player.
Basic social media sleuthing reveals Robinson isn’t exactly jazzed about returning to the Windy City, and may actually long to play in a different big market with the New York Jets.
Robinson has liked three tweets related to this possibility: One discussing how much salary cap room New York has, another that floats the possibility of Gang Green trading quarterback Sam Darnold in exchange for Robinson, and finally, a post and accompanying image gallery that links A-Rob and Watson to the Jets.
So there’s all of that. Not a ringing endorsement of Pace, Bears head coach Matt Nagy or the organization as a whole really.
That’s saying a lot, considering how dysfunctional the Jets have been in recent years. However, they do hold the No. 2 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft and will either use it on a new QB or eventually package it in a trade for a top-five-caliber player like Watson or Wilson.
Tagging Robinson is a costly move by this Bears regime and only puts them further into the red against the NFL’s salary cap. According to Over the Cap, Robinson is going to cost $17.98 million, which is a hefty price to pay for someone who clearly doesn’t want to be on your team.
Not that he isn’t worth the big money, because he is. Despite the horrendous collection of passers who’ve thrown him the ball, Robinson still manages to produce at an elite level when called upon. During the 2020 campaign, he ranked fifth in Pro Football Focus’ player grades at the receiver position, compiling 102 receptions for 1,250 yards and six touchdowns.
Good luck to the Bears and whatever they have in store for 2021 on offense. Robinson probably won’t be there, and Chicago’s phones should be ringing off the hook with offers.
While the Jets are a logical Robinson trade partner, especially with their extra 2021 first-round pick, don’t sleep on other cap-rich teams who have winning cultures such as the New England Patriots and Baltimore Ravens to name a couple.