Allen Robinson wants to get paid, and who can blame him? The wide receiver for the Chicago Bears has easily been the team’s best offensive player since he signed a three-year, $42 million deal in 2018, and after seeing others around the league like Cooper Kupp and Keenan Allen receive extensions this past season, it’s easy to see why A-Rob feels it’s time to get his due.
Robinson was ninth in the league in receiving yards (1,250), sixth in receptions (102) and third in targets (151). He had just one drop in 2020, and had he been targeted in the red zone more than he was, he’d likely have more than six touchdowns. His 88.4 grade from Pro Football Focus during the 2020 regular season was fifth-best amongst all wideouts in the league, and he did it all with the likes of Nick Foles and Mitch Trubisky under center.
The 27-year-old receiver has also been a consummate professional, still showing up and balling out daily despite being unhappy no contract extension was being thrown his way. Now, one Bears insider has reported Robinson’s asking price may have been too high all along for the team to accommodate.
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Will the Bears Place Franchise Tag on Robinson?
Jeff Hughes of DaBearsBlog, who has broken news relating to the team on multiple occasions, suggested Robinson wants something akin to a four-year, $100 million deal. Initially, it was thought Robinson was seeking $19-21 million per year, so if Hughes is correct, Chicago may have been balking more due to fiscal limitations than anything else.
It has become clear that Allen Robinson’s camp is not asking for $18M AAV like originally reported.
He is actually asking for $25M AAV (2nd in the NFL)
Ryan Pace should be applauded for not succumbing to the #ExtendAROB movement.
Tag & trade. Get a cheap WR with the picks.
— Max Markham (@MaxMarkhamNFL) January 29, 2021
Hughes wrote the following Thursday, suggesting the likeliest outcome for A-Rob will be the franchise tag:
The Bears should not even consider a roster next season without him. And that consideration does not require paying him north of $80 million, despite the #ExtendARob movement on social media. The Bears have made many substantial, lucrative offers to Robinson and his side has rejected all of them. He wants $100 million. No one is going to pay him that. The franchise tag exists for this exact situation…Robinson’s tag number next season would be around $16-18 million, and the Bears could free that money up pretty easily. Having Robinson under control makes the Bears more appealing for Deshaun Watson. Having Robinson under control makes the Bears a more comfortable landing spot for Jimmy Garoppolo, or whatever veteran the Bears end up wooing. Having Robinson under control creates an easier rookie campaign for a high draft pick, should that fella end up the starting quarterback in September.
Hughes isn’t wrong in that having Robinson around will be a huge selling point to potential quarterbacks, but it’s worth asking what tagging the talented wideout would do to his already frazzled relationship with general manager Ryan Pace and the organization as a whole.
It’s Obvious Robinson Would Prefer to Avoid the Franchise Tag
When asked after the season how he would feel if the Bears choose to slap the franchise tag on him, Robinson said he would “plead the fifth.” He also noted that “from my standpoint, I personally feel like we had an opportunity to be able to get something done over the past 365 days.” While he has always been complimentary of the franchise and his teammates, it’s clear he’d like to have some long-term financial security in a game where careers can end on any given play.
It’s also clear A-Rob is well aware of all the talk surrounding his current situation with the Bears. Robinson “liked” an article on Twitter by Sports Mockery that also quoted Hughes stating the receiver was reportedly demanding more money than we originally thought:
— Erik Lambert (@ErikLambert1) January 28, 2021
If the Bears let him hit the open market, there are plenty of receiver-starved teams who would pay top dollar for his services, including the Raiders and the Giants, among others. A franchise tag — and possible tag-and-trade scenario– are all still on the table.
Pace said the following at the team’s year-end press conference when asked about Robinson, per NBC Sports: “You know how we feel about Allen, how respected he is in the building. But to get into specifics on his contract, you guys also know I’m not going to get into that. In regard to the franchise tag, I would just say everything is on the table. The league gives us tools for a reason but right now we’re just going to keep all those talks internal.”
Regardless of what Robinson wants, it’s looking more and more like Chicago may use the tag to secure his services for at least one more year.