Allen Robinson has served as Chicago’s clear-cut No. 1 chain-mover since the 2018 season, but the Pro Bowl wideout is less than two months from free agency. And the Bears may need to find a new No. 1 pass catcher.
The Bears are bracing for the possibility Robinson departs in free agency, Jeff Dickerson of ESPN.com notes, adding that the team appears content to let the seven-year veteran test the market instead of forking over top-five receiver money to keep him.
That strategy may be fine for Robinson, who sounds eager to test free agency again. While Robinson said recently he was open to returning to the Bears, he reflected on the parties’ failed extension talks.
“I personally feel like we had an opportunity to be able to get something done over the past 365 days,” Robinson said, via Dickerson (on Twitter).
The Bears would have the franchise tag as an option with Robinson, but they are — prior to any roster cuts — sitting at $10MM over the projected 2021 cap. This is without Mitchell Trubisky factoring into Chicago’s 2021 cap sheet, though the polarizing quarterback is not a lock to be back next season. It will be interesting, in a year in which Matt Nagy and GM Ryan Pace will likely be on hot seats, if the Bears will be willing to let Robinson walk.
A former Jaguars third-round pick, Robinson agreed to a three-year, $42MM deal with the Bears in 2018. But the sides were unable to reach an extension agreement last year. Robinson envisions himself as the market’s top wide receiver, which would put him — even in a year in which the salary cap is expected to decline for only the second time ever — in the $20MM-per-year conversation.
Free agency’s WR1 will be a tough conversation this year. As of late January, young standouts Kenny Golladay, Chris Godwin, JuJu Smith-Schuster and Corey Davis are set for free agency. Barring extensions, veterans T.Y. Hilton, A.J. Green, Marvin Jones and Antonio Brown would stand to join them. Robinson’s previous three-year Bears deal puts him in between these groups, age-wise, at 27.
Despite playing for a team with one of the league’s shakiest quarterback situations, Robinson posted back-to-back 1,100-plus-yard seasons over the past two years. The Bears have Anthony Miller under contract for another season and drafted Darnell Mooney in 2020. But a Robinson exit would leave the team with a major need on offense.
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