Allen Robinson served as the Bears’ clear-cut top skill-position option over the past three seasons, and his second run at free agency may not come to pass.
“The franchise tag is an option for us,” Pace said, via The Athletic’s Adam Jahns (on Twitter). “It doesn’t mean we’re necessarily going to use that. But we want to keep our good players. And Allen is a good player for us.”
Fellow receiver tag candidates Chris Godwin and Kenny Golladay would be straightforward tag recipients, but Robinson being on a veteran deal that counted $15MM against the Bears’ cap last season would drive up his tag price. The CBA mandates players be tagged at either the cap-determined figure for their respective position or 120% of their prior year’s salary, whichever number is greater. The latter scenario would apply to Robinson, whose tag price would be $18MM.
That will put the Bears to a decision, with the cap set to fall to perhaps by nearly $20MM from its $198MM place. Even after cutting Buster Skrine on Monday, the Bears have less than $1MM in projected cap space.
But Robinson, 27, has been far and away Chicago’s top receiving option since joining the team three years ago. His 1,250 receiving yards this past season, with lower-end QBs Mitchell Trubisky and Nick Foles throwing him passes, played a key role in Chicago booking a postseason berth.
Robinson’s negotiations with the Bears did not go smoothly last year, and while a tag would mean a nice one-year payday, the sides do not appear to have a smooth path to an extension by the July 15 deadline. But with Pace and Matt Nagy on hot seats, the Bears keeping Robinson certainly makes sense. The franchise will soon need to determine who will throw him passes, however.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.