Things aren’t looking good for Allen Robinson and the Chicago Bears. Chicago failed to extend its best offensive player after having numerous occasions to do so, leaving fans, media and Robinson’s teammates alike either questioning the organization for its inaction or urging the team to hurry up and get a deal done.
Instead of rewarding Robinson for being one of the top receivers in the league over the last three seasons while working with Mitch Trubisky and Nick Foles, though, the Bears allowed the 27-year-old wideout and his agent Brandon Parker to grow increasingly frustrated with the lack of discussion and adequate compensation offered by the team.
With the NFL’s 2021 franchise tag window beginning on February 23 (and ending on March 9), Chicago is expected to use the tag on Robinson — who has already expressed he won’t be too happy if that happens. Tensions between the talented wideout and his team have never been higher — and now, one top insider who has known Robinson since his days with the Jacksonville Jaguars thinks the road is only going to get rougher.
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How Did it Get to This Point?
“As an outsider, my first thought about this all was that this is insane,” Dunne began. “Allen Robinson is a) incredibly talented. Only two wide receivers have more yards over the last two years, and b), he’s about as low maintenance as they come. Genuinely. Isn’t gonna make a stink, isn’t gonna roll his eyes let alone say anything when the ball is thrown over his head, or he’s not getting the ball in the red zone. He’s got that zen to him, and that’s rare at that position.”
Robinson had seven targets in the red zone over the first 10 games in 2020, which Dunne referenced, and despite playing for a team loaded with uncertainty, A-Rob remained a pillar of strength and consistency since his arrival in 2018. “How did it get to this point? It really did blow my mind, because Allen Robinson isn’t one to just invent things. He doesn’t make stuff up. He wouldn’t do that to gain leverage or to re-create a narrative,” Dunne said.
“From the inside looking out, we say the same thing: How did we get here?” Wiederer added.
Talks Have Been Non-Existent for Months
The Bears and Robinson haven’t had serious contract talks since Week 2 of last season, and for his part, the wide receiver told Dunne he simply wants to receive his market value. “For myself — as much as I wanted a deal done — I wanted a fair deal,” Robinson said, adding:
It would be like if I told somebody, ‘You are qualified for this job. And this is what the other people at that job are making. But you can’t make that. Nobody in America would even do that. You see people go from job to job on an everyday basis in America. They get a job, they fill out another resume because, now, they have the experience. They go from company to company to company, at the same time, increasing their salaries. But for players, when you get in that situation where you’re even up for a contract, it’s almost a lose-lose between the fans and — for a lot of players, not just myself — even the organization and teammates. The narrative of the story is so muddied up for no reason at all, when players just want what their value is.
Dunne says that if the Bears do tag Robinson, the wideout is likely going to do something an increasing number of players in the league are doing: He’s going to speak his mind and exercise the power he has as a player. “That’s where it gets really interesting because Allen Robinson’s makeup is to not be that guy who’s publicly bashing anybody, who’s doing anything really to force his way out,” Dunne said. “I think if it gets to that point and he does try to force his way out … a lot of these players around the league have just tried to say ‘You know what? Screw whatever the contract says and whatever the CBA says, I’m getting out of here my way.'”
Dunne also says that if Robinson does decide to protest the tag, he could be an influential force in a rapidly changing league: “The franchise tag is this archaic, weaponized tool used by teams to really not let a guy get what he’s worth,” Dunne said. “If Allen Robinson draws that line in the sand, I think we are going to see more of a shift with stars taking control.”
This is Where it’s Heading…
Would A-Rob sit out the entire season? “I don’t think he’ll take it that far,” Dunne said, although he also noted Robinson will likely “push back” if the Bears tag him. Will A-Rob ask for a trade and/or sit out several games? Dunne says that’s the most probable scenario.
A tag-and-trade scenario is also possible, and Chicago could also still tag Robinson and try to sign him to a long-term deal afterward. Anything is on the table. But if the Bears are serious about finding a franchise quarterback, they might want to make sure he has someone to throw to — and it doesn’t get much better than Robinson. We’ll all know soon enough what the team’s plan is — but we don’t know how Robinson will react to said plan, and that could make all the difference.
You can watch Dunne’s full interview with Wiederer below: