Allen Robinson

Allen Robinson: No “Viable Option” From Bears

Allen Robinson isn’t “opposed” to staying put, but there’s still work to be done. This week, the wide receiver said that he has yet to be given a “viable option” from the Bears. 

[RELATED: Bears Did Not Make Offer For Wentz]

My personal opinion, if something could possibly work? Yes,” Robinson said (via Tyler Dunne of Go Long). “I’m not opposed to being back in Chicago by any means. I’ve even expressed that over the last couple of years — wanting to be the all-time leading receiver in Chicago which, I believe, I’m under 2,000 yards away from that. With all that being said, unfortunately we’ve come to what seems to be a fork in the road. But not even a fork. We haven’t even been given a viable option to be able to do those things that we want to do without sacrificing a ridiculous amount pretty much for the rest of my career.

One option for the Bears would be to use the franchise tag on Robinson, but that wouldn’t be especially “viable” for either party. Robinson doesn’t want to get tagged, and he’s been vocal about it. Meanwhile, the Bears would have a tough time fitting Robinson into the budget at the WR 1-5 average. The Bears are currently projected to be $10MM over the 2021 cap, so key players would need to be cut in order to balance the books.

On the flipside, head coach Matt Nagy and GM Ryan Pace could be fighting for their jobs this year. Even if it’s not necessarily a good idea for the long term, the Bears could be inclined to pay Robinson what he wants. Robinson says he’s the market’s top wide receiver, which would put him in $20MM/year territory.

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Bears Notes: Desai, Robinson, Massie, Skrine

Earlier this week, Sean Desai met with the media for the first time since being promoted to the role of defensive coordinator. While the 37-year-old will take over a defense that has ranked as a top-10 DVOA unit in each of the past three seasons, they’ve also seen some regression since peaking in 2018. However, Desai doesn’t believe the defensive needs a significant overhaul.

“I’m not a big car guy, so my analogies may not be great, but this is like a tune up,” Desai said (via the team’s website). “We’re going to refine some things and we’re going to make sure our players are playing to their strengths on a consistent basis and they’re going to buy into the system and the whys and the hows of why we’re doing certain things. But we’ve got a good defense. We’ve got really good players here.”

“There was some regression, and we’re going to overcome that,” Desai added. “But we’re going to do it in a positive way and we’re going to do it where the players are going to be able to shine through that defense. So I think we’ll build some depth and we’ll continue with our tough, physical mindset of play and do that over a 16- to 20-week season.”

Some more notes out of Chicago…

  • CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora writes that the Bears are “prepared” to tag wideout Allen Robinson with the hope of eventually signing him to a long-term deal. Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune writes that it will be difficult to fit a franchised Robinson into a reduced 2021 cap, but the writer also admits that replacing Robinson would be a more daunting task.
  • Speaking of the cap, Biggs provided some cost-cutting options for the Bears. The team could move on from right tackle Bobby Massie, although that would open a spot on the offensive line. Cornerback Buster Skrine could also lose his roster spot, especially since he has a $500K roster bonus due in March. Finally, Biggs also whether the front office will be receptive to paying tight end Jimmy Graham $7MM this season.
  • As for restructured contracts, Biggs points to pass rusher Khalil Mack and safety Eddie Jackson, and he notes that the team could also extend cornerback Kyle Fuller. Alternatively, the team could look to retain free agents like Cairo Santos and Cordarrelle Patterson on low-money pacts.
  • Kevin Fishbain of The Athletic passed along a few Bears players who have increased their 2021 salaries via proven performance escalators (Twitter links): defensive end Bilal Nichols (from $920K to $2.183MM) and guard James Daniels ($1.437MM to $2.183MM),. Their new salaries are contingent on the final 2021 cap number.

Latest On Bears, Allen Robinson

When the Bears and Allen Robinson resumed extension talks back in September, there was some optimism that the two sides could work out their differences and keep Robinson around long-term. That optimism was short-lived, as the relationship quickly devolved and he eventually started liking tweets encouraging him to skip town.

The last we heard about a month ago, the team was bracing for the star receiver to leave in free agency. However, it appears GM Ryan Pace might not let him walk out the door so easily. Pace recently talked about the franchise tag being a tool at the team’s disposal this offseason, and Adam Jahns of The Athletic thinks that was to send a message to Robinson and his reps that the team is going to play hardball.

Robinson has said recently he’s open to returning to Chicago, but doesn’t want to play under the tag. It seems the Bears are reluctant to pay his asking price, which is rumored to be top of the receiver market money. Meanwhile, the two sides haven’t had any further talks about an extension since those discussions way back in September, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com reports, so a long-term deal certainly doesn’t seem imminent.

Interestingly, Pelissero floated a potential tag and trade scenario as a viable option. “That would certainly seem to bring the (franchise) tag into play,” Pelissero said. “Whether it is the Bears to try to do an extension, whether it is setting up Robinson to play on the tag, or maybe even a tag-and-trade scenario.”

Robinson has managed to produce consistently despite playing with bottom-tier quarterbacks his entire career, and is still only 27, so if the Bears do dangle him in trade talks there will likely be no shortage of suitors. He had 102 catches for 1,250 yards and six touchdowns this past season, even as Mitchell Trubisky and Nick Foles shuffled back and forth ineffectively.

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Latest On Bears, Allen Robinson

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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Free Agent Stock Watch: Bears WR Allen Robinson

It’s safe to say that Allen Robinson isn’t a happy camper. Over the weekend, the Bears wide receiver liked a series of tweets from fans who encouraged him to skip town (Twitter link via Dov Kleiman). He’ll have the opportunity to leave Chicago in the spring when his contract expires, but it’s not a given that the market will meet his expectations. 

Earlier this year, we heard that Robinson saw himself as the top wide receiver in this year’s free agent class. That would mean a deal of at least $20MM per year, putting him in the neighborhood of Michael Thomas and Julio Jones who have much stronger resumes. Thomas’ camp would probably point to Keenan Allen and Amari Cooper — receivers who did not have the same credentials as Thomas or Jones, but still topped $20MM/year.

The Bears weren’t willing to go there when the two sides last spoke, but they also kept Robinson past the early November trade deadline. Since then, they’ve watched their playoff hopes dwindle. The Bears, riding a five-game losing streak, may wind up losing their star receiver for nothing but a compensatory pick.

The Bears’ quarterback situation hasn’t provided Robinson with the ideal platform, but he’s still been fairly productive from an individual standpoint. Last year, Robinson managed a solid 98 grabs for 1,147 yards — his best showing since his 2015 coming out party with the Jaguars. Through eleven games this year, he has a stat line of 71/829/5, bolstered by his latest outing against the Packers. Robinson’s 11.7 yards per catch average over the last two years doesn’t exactly jump off the page, but it’s evident that the talent is there, and Robinson has been largely healthy over that stretch.

But, even with the most favorable view possible, Robinson probably won’t be the kingpin of this WR class. Chris Godwin and Kenny Golladay are also on track to hit the open market — ditto for JuJu Smith-Schuster, who could probably be had for less than Robinson.

Given the strength of the WR class and uncertainty of the 2021 salary cap, it might behoove Robinson to smooth things out with the Bears. Or, at minimum, pretend to smooth out with the Bears, in order to fetch the best possible deal. If Robinson can keep the incumbent Bears involved, he could land somewhere near the $18MM/year mark like Tyreek Hill and Odell Beckham Jr. If he can’t, he might be looking at ~$16MM/year offers, similar to Cooper Kupp‘s recent Rams extension.

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Bears WR Allen Robinson Expected To Play On Sunday

Good news for the Bears this morning. ESPN’s Field Yates reports (via Twitter) that top wideout Allen Robinson has cleared concussion protocol and is expected to play tomorrow.

Robinson suffered a concussion during the Bears loss to the Rams on Monday night, and his status was changed from “questionable” to “doubtful” on Friday’s injury report. As Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune noted yesterday (on Twitter), a player “has to be at least limited in” one practice in order to be listed as questionable for a respective week. Since Robinson didn’t practice as he went through concussion protocol, the Bears were required to list him as doubtful.

Robinson being active is obviously a huge boost for a 5-2 Bears team that’s going against a formidable 4-2 Saints squad. The 27-year-old receiver is having another standout season in Chicago, hauling in 44 receptions for 544 yards and two touchdowns.

Unfortunately, the Bears won’t be completely healthy for their showdown against New Orleans. Center Cody Whitehair is sidelined with a calf injury, while pass rusher Khalil Mack and wideout Cordarrelle Patterson are both questionable.

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No Progress In Talks Between Bears, Allen Robinson

Negotiations between the Bears and top wideout Allen Robinson picked up last month after reports surfaced indicating that Robinson was unhappy with how contract talks had proceeded and after Robinson removed Bears-related references from his social media pages. Robinson, though, denied making a trade demand, and Chicago reportedly rebuffed all trade inquiries that came its way, so it seemed that there was a chance of a long-term accord coming together.

But Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports says that seems unlikely. La Canfora reports that the two sides remain at an impasse, and that the renewed negotiations did not gain any traction. One reason for that may be that Robinson sees himself as the top receiver in the 2021 free agent class, which means that he is likely shooting for a contract paying him at least $20MM per year. Statistically speaking, he doesn’t have the same resume as players like Michael Thomas and Julio Jones, but since Keenan Allen and Amari Cooper are also above the $20MM threshold, Robinson may well get that type of money on the open market.

Unfortunately for him, he might not be allowed to get to the open market. La Canfora reiterates his earlier report that this process will probably end with Robinson receiving the franchise tag, and that rarely makes a player happy. But with Nick Foles now under center for Chicago, Robinson may be able to bolster his bargaining position as the season unfolds.

Robinson is off to a solid start in the 2020 campaign, catching 18 passes for 230 yards and a score. His 3-0 Bears will battle the Colts this afternoon.

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NFC North Rumors: Robinson, Packers, Golladay

The Bears and WR Allen Robinson have resumed extension talks after a tumultuous week, and Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports that Chicago rebuffed trade inquiries on its star receiver while increasing the contract offer it had on the table. However, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports says negotiations are not likely to last deep into the season.

Per La Canfora, Robinson and the Bears still don’t see eye-to-eye on Robinson’s value, and Robinson may be content to head into the 2021 offseason as arguably the best WR available in free agency. But La Canfora says Robinson will not hit the open market. If the two sides don’t come to terms on a new deal, look for the Bears to slap the 27-year-old with the franchise tag. Obviously, both parties would prefer to avoid that outcome, but it sounds like there is still a wide gap that needs to be bridged in short order.

Now for more from the NFC North:

  • Before the season started, we heard that the Packers and RB Aaron Jones were working on a new deal. Although games are now underway, it sounds as if an extension could still get done. Jones, who is currently earning $2.133MM in the final year of his rookie contract, has seen plenty of other backs get new deals over the past several weeks and hopes he will get his big payday soon. “I’m definitely open to getting something done whenever,” Jones said, via Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com. “But like I said, that’s not my main focus. Just gonna continue to focus on football and helping this team bring in the wins, as many as possible.”
  • Another key member of the Packers who is set for free agency in 2021 is LT David Bakhtiari. As was the case with Jones, Green Bay was hoping to finalize an extension for Bakhtiari before the season, but it sounds as if the two sides are far apart in negotiations. Demovsky says the All-Pro lineman is looking to match or exceed Laremy Tunsil‘s $22MM AAV, while the Packers’ best offer to date is about $4MM per year less than Bakhtiari’s asking price.
  • Lions WR Kenny Golladay will make his 2020 debut soon. Although the star receiver will miss Detroit’s Week 2 matchup with the Packers this afternoon, head coach Matt Patricia said Golladay is “really close” to a return (Twitter link via Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network). A few weeks ago, the Lions and Golladay were said to be nearing an agreement on what will surely be a massive extension, though there were conflicting reports on that front.
  • ICYMI, the Bears and RB Tarik Cohen have come to terms on a three-year extension.

Bears, WR Allen Robinson Resume Extension Talks

Allen Robinson may be staying put after all. NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reports (via Twitter) that the Bears and the wideout have resumed contract talks. Rapoport warns that “[t]here is still a significant gap to close,” but the continued negotiations are a good sign nonetheless.

This followed a week where the impending free agent receiver expressed frustration with his contract, inquired about a trade, denied the trade rumors, and reiterated that he wants to stay in Chicago. Phew. Robinson is in the final season of his three-year, $42MM deal, and initial reports indicated that Robinson wasn’t satisfied with the Bears’ initial extension offers.

A trade always seemed somewhat unlikely. In a crucial season for quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, it would have been unproductive to trade a 1,000-yard receiver. The 27-year-old had one of the best seasons of his career in 2019, finishing with a career-high 98 receptions to go along with 1,147 yards and seven scores. He had five catches for 74 yards during his team’s Week 1 win.

Further, the Bears have traditionally taken care of their own. In recent years, they’ve extended Khalil Mack, Akiem HicksEddie Goldman and Cody Whitehair in the month of September. Even with the presence of 2018 second-rounder Anthony Miller, a Robinson extension has always seemed like a possibility, if not an inevitability.

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Allen Robinson Wants To Stay With Bears

Despite rumblings of a trade demand, Allen Robinson says he wants to stay put. On Wednesday, the Bears wide receiver said that he’s intent on remaining in Chicago throughout his walk year, and beyond (Twitter link via ESPN.com’s Field Yates). 

[RELATED: Bears Were “In The Running” For Tom Brady]

My heart and spirit has never wavered as far as the city of Chicago and playing for this organization,” Robinson said.

Robinson also seems to have smoothed things out with head coach Matt Nagy. The two had a productive chat earlier today and Nagy says he has no concern about the receiver’s status with the club moving forward.

He’s a super person and a super player,” Nagy said. “I think he definitely feels good. He’s confident that we want him to be here and he wants to be here. That’s ultimately the goal.”

Nagy also pointed out the Bears’ track record for taking care of players. In recent years, they’ve extended Khalil Mack, Akiem HicksEddie Goldman and Cody Whitehair in the month of September, so it stands to reason that Robinson could get his wish sometime soon.

Robinson, 27, is in the final season of a three-year, $42MM deal. Since he signed that contract, the wide receiver market has changed substantially. Robinson’s $14MM AAV now places him No. 15 among WRs. Despite Mitchell Trubisky‘s inconsistent passing, Robinson registered a career-high 98 receptions in 2019 for 1,147 yards in 2019.

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