The 27-year-old wide receiver will be making around $18 million under the franchise tag this year, but after failing to ink him to a long-term contract, the Bears have turned his future with the team into a big ol’ question mark. Another tag is possible next year — but unlikely at this point — and it’s unclear how much the Bears’ inability to commit to him for at least the next few seasons has soured the wideout and his camp when it comes to returning in 2022.
In his July 15 column, Emma provided a few previously unknown details about Chicago’s negotiations with Robinson — and if true, the Bears may have dropped the ball, pun intended.
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Emma: Robinson Wanted Keenan Allen-Type Money
“Robinson’s camp and the Bears haven’t negotiated in earnest on a new contract since last September, when discussions broke down,” Emma wrote. “Robinson coveted in the range of $20 million annually, a market set by receiver peers like Amari Cooper of the Cowboys and Keenan Allen of the Chargers. The Bears were well short of that in their offer, topping out around $16 million annually.”
Robinson is arguably a top-five wide receiver, and what he has brought to the Bears offense with suspect quarterback play is impossible to refute, so a $16 million offer with no more talks seems callous at best where general manager Ryan Pace is concerned.
Emma also revealed that the Bears’ prioritizing contracts of other players may have had something to do with not inking A-Rob long-term.
“Robinson hoped to have his contract future solidified in early 2020,” Emma stated. “The Bears signed safety Eddie Jackson to a long-term deal in early January 2020 but left Robinson waiting. A day after negotiations broke down in late September, the Bears signed running back Tarik Cohen to a three-year extension. Robinson’s party and the Bears never picked up discussions after that.”
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What Will 2022 Look Like for Bears & A-Rob?
“The Bears haven’t been willing to budge off their perceived value of Robinson’s market,” Emma added. “If they want, Robinson and the Bears can resume contract negotiations beginning in early January, two months before he’d be set to become an unrestricted free agent. But it seems the window to negotiate in earnest closed well before.”
Woof. That doesn’t sound good.
Salary cap expert Brad Spielberger of Pro Football Focus noted that the Bears could tag Robinson again next season at the price of just under $22 million, which seems highly unlikely considering they didn’t offer him anywhere near $20 million this year.
Per Windy City Gridiron’s Jacob Infante, Spotrac has A-Rob projected to collect around $20 million a year when he becomes a free agent next season, which would make him the fourth-highest paid receiver in the league.
As it stands now, Robinson has a very bright future, but it’s looking pretty murky in Chicago after this season.