Whether the Chicago Bears manage to re-sign wide receiver Allen Robinson remains one of the more pressing and intriguing questions surrounding the team this offseason. Robinson came to Chicago from Jacksonville in 2018, and he has established himself as not only the team’s top wideout, but also its best offensive weapon.
Robinson has 255 catches for 3,151 yards and 17 touchdowns in his three seasons with the Bears. Pro Football Focus has him ranked as the third-most sought-after free agent in 2021 behind Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott and Buccaneers wide receiver Chris Godwin, and his ability to produce no matter who is under center will garner him plenty of offers. According to PFF, he’s one of only three wideouts since 2006 to have 150+ targets and just one drop in a single season.
Only WRs w/ 150+ targets and 1 drop in a season since 2006
🔹 Allen Robinson ('20)
🔹 DeAndre Hopkins ('20)
🔹 Antonio Brown ('18) pic.twitter.com/0YtLN5JYTn
— PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF_Fantasy) January 4, 2021
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Analysts are Predicting Robinson Will Leave Chicago Next Season
PFF predicts Robinson will land in Miami next season, noting that while Chicago could place the franchise tag on him, their limited salary cap may make keeping him around and paying him what he’s worth very cumbersome.
The New York Giants, Washington Football Team and New England Patriots have all been discussed as potential destinations for Robinson in 2021, and there are plenty of others with available cap space who would be interested in his services, as well. If he should land elsewhere, how could Chicago replace him? Well, they probably couldn’t, but adding a piece through the draft would be a good start.
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Bears Land Play-Making Alabama Wideout in Latest Mock Draft
In his latest mock draft, Bleacher Report’s Gary Davenport has the Bears selecting wide receiver Jaylen Waddle out of Alabama with the 20th overall pick. Here’s what Davenport had to say about the talented Crimson Tide wideout:
The Chicago Bears are already thin at the wide receiver position behind veteran Allen Robinson II. And since he’s about to hit free agency, they could be about to get that much thinner. If Robinson does leave the Windy City, wide receiver would surge to the head of Chicago’s offseason needs … Enter Alabama’s Jaylen Waddle. As great as DeVonta Smith has been for the Crimson Tide in 2020, it can be argued that Waddle was even better before a broken ankle ended his season. He played in five games, averaging a ridiculous 22.3 yards per reception. During each of the four full games in which the 5’10” 182-pounder played, he had at least 120 receiving yards. There isn’t a wideout in the 2021 class with more game-breaking ability—or a higher NFL ceiling.
In his three seasons at Alabama, Waddle played in 33 games, catching 103 passes for 1,965 yards. He scored 17 touchdowns and averaged 19.1 yards per catch. He also returned kicks for the Tide, scoring three touchdowns in the return game, as well.
Waddle fractured his ankle in October, which ended his regular season, but he has been attacking his rehab since. Paul Constantine, an athletics performance coach at the University of Alabama, shared a video of Waddle in the weight room in early December, calling the receiver “an absolute monster” when it came to how he handled his recovery. Waddle is now, a few months later, returning to practice and could be potentially available to play in the championship game against Ohio State.
@D1__JW has been an absolute monster with his rehab. Both in the weight room and in the training room with @gsell_jeremy not much he’s not willing to do to get better. Using EMG on him today data to help guide the next steps of this rehab in the weight room. pic.twitter.com/m2FDnBRrc2
— Paul Constantine (@BamaCoachPaul) December 10, 2020
The Bears are slated to pick 20th in the draft, and they also have pressing needs on the offensive line, at safety and at quarterback, among others, so it will be interesting to see which way they go. A player of Waddle’s caliber does intrigue, with his potential and athleticism definite assets, but much will depend, too, on who is available when the Bears are on the clock. If Waddle’s still there, though, his fight, work ethic and determination have been evident in recent months — and those qualities in particular would make him a great fit in the Windy City.