Allen Robinson

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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Bears’ Allen Robinson Denies Trade Demand

Allen Robinson wants out, according to a league source who spoke with Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune. Meanwhile, the receiver’s agent tells Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter) that he has not requested a trade. 

Still, Robinson is unhappy with his contract, Schefter hears. Robinson is in the final year of his deal and wants an extension to put him in line with the current market. The $14MM AAV on Robinson’s three-year, $42MM deal currently ties him for 14th with Bills star Stefon Diggs among all WRs.

We know how important A-Rob is to us not just as a player but as a teammate,” Bears GM Ryan Pace said recently. “But those things are going to remain behind the scene as we work through the process.”

Robinson underscored his importance in the season opener against Detroit, leading the way with five catches for 74 yards. Last year, he was one of the team’s few bright spots as he caught 98 passes for 1,147 yards and seven touchdowns.

Both sides have incentive to get a deal done. An extension would allow the Bears to lock Robinson down while reducing his expected 2021 salary cap hit. Robinson, 27, could be in line for something close to $20MM per year, similar to recent deals for Keenan Allen and Amari Cooper.

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Allen Robinson Asks Bears For Trade?

3:40pm: Robinson’s dissatisfaction has resulted in another step. He has indeed inquired about a possible trade out of Chicago, Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune reports. The Bears trading Robinson would represent a drastic step — and an unlikely course of action considering they are as of now using the 2020 season to make a final evaluation on Trubisky.

1:53pm: One game into his contract year, Allen Robinson does not appear to be content with his Bears status. Chicago’s No. 1 wide receiver has grown frustrated with his extension negotiations, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com reports (video link).

The latest Robinson report, in July, indicated no talks had commenced. However, the Bears have made Robinson at least one offer, with Pelissero adding that the seventh-year wideout is not satisfied with the team’s proposals and removed Bears-related references from his social media pages Tuesday.

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 15th among receivers. He has not requested a trade at this juncture, however, per Pelissero. The former Jaguars draftee said late last season he was interested in a Bears extension.

Despite Mitchell Trubisky having not lived up to his draft slot, Robinson has consistently produced in Chicago. He caught a career-high 98 passes last season, one in which his quarterback regressed considerably, and posted 1,147 yards. Against Detroit in Week 1, Robinson caught five passes for 74 yards.

The Bears drafted Anthony Miller in the 2018 second round, but Robinson has operated as their chain-moving centerpiece since arriving that year. The organization has agreed to a few September extensions in recent years, inking Khalil Mack, Akiem HicksEddie Goldman and Cody Whitehair to new deals in the season’s first month. However, each of those deals occurred just before the start of the regular season. The franchise tag could come into play for Robinson, whom the Jags let hit free agency two years ago. A deal that would prevent such a scenario does not yet appear close.

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No Extension Talks Between Bears, Allen Robinson

Add Bears receiver Allen Robinson to the list of extension candidates who seem unlikely to get a new deal in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. During a recent interview on ESPN 1000’s Carmen and Jurko show (h/t Cam Ellis of NBC Sports Chicago), Robinson said that the Bears have not discussed a new contract with his agent. 

“We haven’t heard nothing,” Robinson said. “I think just as far as me and my agent, from [the] conversations that we’ve had, we’re not necessarily anticipating hearing anything at this point.”

Robinson indicated towards the end of last season that he would be interested in an extension with the Bears, but in May, we learned that the two sides were not close to an accord. Now, although Ellis indicates the team did have some internal discussions about a Robinson re-up in February, it’s unclear whether negotiations with Robinson’s camp were ever initiated.

Robinson, 27 in August, has one year to go on his three-year, $42MM deal. When Robinson inked his contract, it was near the top of the pecking order for the position. Since then, WR salaries have advanced past the $20MM/year mark. Julio Jones, Michael Thomas, Tyreek Hill, Odell Beckham Jr., Brandin Cooks, Adam Thielen, Jarvis Landry, and Stefon Diggs went on to leapfrog Robinson. He won’t top the likes of Jones or Thomas, of course, but he has a strong case to make for a decent pay bump.

The Bears are projected to hold more than $40MM in cap room next year, but that’s predicated on the cap projection staying as-is. Right now, that seems pretty unlikely.

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North Notes: Griffen, Robinson, Bengals

Everson Griffen is one of the top two pass rushers still on the market, and we heard last month that he would probably not re-sign with the Vikings. However, Minnesota did not do much to add to its pass rushing corps in the draft, with South Carolina DE D.J. Wonnum representing the most notable addition. And while GM Rick Spielman acknowledged that his team’s cap space makes it difficult to bring Griffen back, he did not rule it out.

“It is hard to say right now where everything is at and where we are at, [but] until things become more normalized I will never say never on a player,” Spielman recently said on the #PFTPM podcast (via PFT’s Mike Florio). “[Y]our roster is never set.”

Griffen has expressed an interest in joining the Seahawks, but Seattle is still open to bringing back Jadeveon Clowney. If Clowney returns to the ‘Hawks, perhaps Griffen will settle for a one-year deal on a Minnesota defense that he will not have to learn on the fly.

Now for more from the league’s north divisions:

  • Of the three OTs the Vikings added in this year’s draft, only second-rounder Ezra Cleveland profiles as an immediate threat to incumbent LT Riley Reiff. The team could again entertain the notion of kicking Reiff inside to LG, but that’s only if Cleveland proves himself ready for starting left tackle duties, which would be a tall order given the COVID-19 restrictions. So as Ben Goessling of the Star Tribune suggests, Reiff will likely stay at LT for the time being, and 2019 fourth-rounder Dru Samia will compete with Pat Elflein for the starting LG slot. The team could also target a free agent for that role, including Josh Kline, whom the Vikings released in a cost-cutting move in March.
  • Bears WR Allen Robinson said towards the end of last season that he is interested in an extension with Chicago, but the two sides do not appear to be close to a new deal, per Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune. Robinson is ticketed for free agency after the 2020 campaign, and Biggs suggests that the franchise tag could be in play if there is no extension in place by the second month of the season.
  • Paul Dehner Jr. of The Athletic says both A.J. Green and the Bengals have interest in getting a long-term deal done, but it’s unclear exactly how much interest. He expects that nothing will come together prior to the July 15 deadline, which means Green will have to play out the 2020 season on his franchise tender. While there’s a better chance Cincinnati comes to terms with RB Joe Mixon on a new contract, that will not happen before a decision on Green is made. The Bengals are reportedly bracing themselves for a Mixon holdout.
  • In the same piece linked above, Dehner says the Bengals are unlikely to make any free agent additions to the O-line at this point. In a separate piece, he notes that Cincinnati made a free agent splash on cornerbacks in free agency because it did not like this year’s CB draft class. The team did not take a defensive back with any of its seven selections.

Allen Robinson Interested In Bears Re-Up

One of two free agent wide receivers who signed big-ticket deals in 2018, Allen Robinson has delivered this season after a quieter Bears debut. The sixth-year wideout is closing in on the second 1,000-yard season of his career and is on the way to doubling his 2018 touchdown output.

Robinson’s three-year, $42MM contract expires after the 2020 season, but the former Jaguars target would like a Bears extension.

Yeah, definitely,” Robinson said of his interest in a potential re-up, via Jason Lieser of the Chicago Sun-Times. “There’s a lot that goes into it . . . but as far as how comfortable I am here and how much I like it here, I definitely would foresee spending many more years here.”

Since Robinson and Sammy Watkins ($16MM AAV) signed their deals in March 2018, the wide receiver market has climbed north of $20MM per year. Julio Jones, Michael Thomas, Tyreek Hill, Odell Beckham Jr., Brandin Cooks, Adam Thielen, Jarvis Landry and Stefon Diggs subsequently signed more lucrative deals than Robinson’s. While the Bears wideout does not have a strong case at a deal in the Jones or Thomas ballpark, the Bears’ passing attack centers around its No. 1 wide receiver. That would make a raise a certainty, with Robinson yet to turn 27.

I would love to be the Bears’ all-time leading receiver,” Robinson said. “With the longevity of the organization and players who have come before here, goals like that are big. … I’ve really enjoyed my two years. We’ve won a lot of games. From an organization standpoint, it’s a top-flight organization and coaching staff.

Chicago is projected to hold barely $12MM in 2020 cap space and counts Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Danny Trevathan among its free agents-to-be. Robinson, who has accumulated 898 receiving yards and seven touchdowns on 76 catches, is due a $10.9MM base salary next season.

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North Notes: Robinson, Thielen, Browns

Allen Robinson sounds confident the he and the Bears will discuss an extension at some point. The sixth-year wide receiver has enjoyed his best season since 2015, averaging 70.8 yards per game and having become the Bears’ most reliable skill-position player. The 27-year-old wideout sounds willing to wait, however. He is signed through the 2020 season.

My focus is just to finish the season strong, and I am sure at some point in time whether it’s my agent starting it or them, it will be talked about,” Robinson said, via Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune. “There is a good amount of time. So many different scenarios can play out. The time will come.”

Although no guaranteed money remains on Robinson’s three-year, $42MM deal, he is set to earn $10.9MM in base salary next season and is certainly not at risk of being released.

Here is the latest from the North divisions:

  • Adam Thielen‘s last game featuring double-digit snaps came in Week 6, but the Vikings‘ highest-paid skill-position player is trending in a better direction for Monday night’s game. Battling a hamstring injury, Thielen returned to practice Friday and got in two limited workouts this week. He does not expect to be a game-time decision, per Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (on Twitter), so the Vikings (and certain fantasy owners) may have some advance notice. Thielen will see his 1,000-yard streak likely stop after two seasons, but the 29-year-old standout is certainly pivotal to Minnesota’s hopes at winning the NFC North.
  • This will not be the week David Njoku returns to the Browns’ skill-position arsenal. The Browns did not activate their top tight end by Saturday afternoon’s deadline, so he will miss another game. With Njoku having returned to practice on Nov. 20, the Browns do not have to activate him until Dec. 10. If Njoku is not activated by then, he will spend the rest of the season on IR. The third-year tight end underwent surgery for a broken wrist during his IR stay.
  • Cleveland will be without left tackle Greg Robinson as well. The oft-scrutinized former No. 2 overall pick did not practice this week and will remain in concussion protocol through Week 13. Kyle Murphy started for Robinson at left tackle when he was benched earlier this year. The Browns, however, gave the sixth-year blocker his job back soon after.
  • Yet another Andre Smith stint with the Bengals will come to an end. The winless team waived the veteran tackle on Saturday.

Revisiting The 2018 Free Agent WR Class

The 2018 free agent class of wide receivers reshaped the market in a number of ways and set the table for lucrative extensions for players like Odell Beckham, Brandin Cooks, and Stefon Diggs. But even allowing for the premium that teams often have to pay in the first wave of free agency, the size of the contracts that the 2018 FA wideouts landed raised a lot of eyebrows throughout the league. As we look ahead to Year 2 of some of those contracts, let’s examine the early returns.

Sammy Watkins‘ three-year, $48MM deal with the Chiefs topped the class in terms of total value, average annual value, and guaranteed money at signing ($30MM). And while his talent certainly merited that type of payday, his injury history was a concern, as he had missed 10 games over the prior three seasons. He ended up missing six games during his first year in Kansas City due to a foot injury, though he did manage to suit up for both of the club’s postseason contests. His raw numbers obviously don’t look too impressive as a result of the missed time, but he did rank fifth among all qualified wideouts in Football Outsiders’ DVOA metric, meaning he was very valuable on a per-play basis. He also tallied 10 catches for 176 yards during the Chiefs’ two playoff games, and while injury problems may always plague him, he continues to be a factor whenever he’s on the field. KC is likely not regretting Watkins’ deal at this point.

The Bears doubled up at wide receiver by signing Allen Robinson and Taylor Gabriel last March, which allowed them to part ways with Cameron Meredith. Chicago brought in Robinson on a three-year, $42MM pact, even though he suffered a torn ACL in Week 1 of the 2017 season and had only posted one elite season in his career (which came back in 2015). And after his first year with the Bears, Robinson is still looking for his second 1,000-yard campaign.

There is some reason to hope that he can get there, especially with a fully-healthy offseason and a year of building chemistry with quarterback Mitchell Trubisky under his belt. A-Rob played in just 13 regular season games last season but was targeted 94 times, and he was brilliant in the Bears’ lone playoff game, posting 10 catches for 143 yards and a score. Football Outsiders’ metrics didn’t love him, but Pro Football Focus assigned him an above-average grade that made him the 28th-best WR in the league. He may not have quite lived up to expectations, but there is still time for him to get there.

Chicago signed Gabriel to a four-year, $26MM deal in the hopes that he could become a big-play threat for Trubisky. But while Gabriel played in all 16 games for the club and saw 93 targets, he managed a fairly modest 10.3 yards-per-reception and two touchdowns. Advanced metrics weren’t overly fond of his work either, and he will be hoping for a bounce-back year in 2019.

It’s still too early to evaluate some of the other significant contracts given to 2018 wide receivers, because the signees saw their seasons derailed by injury. Marqise Lee, who re-upped with the Jaguars on a four-year, $34MM deal, missed the entire 2018 season due to a preseason knee injury, and he is not expected to be back until the end of this year’s training camp. The Dolphins were thinking highly of their three-year, $24MM accord with Albert Wilson, who was performing well for Miami until he landed on IR in October with a serious hip injury. He is expected to be ready for the start of the 2019 regular season, but he may not see the field until then.

Likewise, Paul Richardson showed flashes in the first year of the five-year, $40MM contract he signed with the Redskins last March, but he landed on IR in November with a shoulder injury.

But at least the aforementioned players are still on their respective teams. Michael Crabtree signed a three-year, $21MM deal with the Ravens after being cut by the Raiders, but he disappeared from Baltimore’s offense when Lamar Jackson became the starter, and Baltimore sent him packing in February (as of this writing, there has been no reported interest in his services). And Donte Moncrief signed a one-year contract for a surprising $9.6MM with the Jaguars, but his mostly disappointing performance in Jacksonville had him searching for a new team this offseason. He ultimately caught on with the Steelers.

All in all, then, the 2018 class of free agent wideouts was a mixed bag. None of the contracts those players signed look like a home run at this point, and while that could change in 2019, those who were surprised by the amount of money thrown at WRs last March were right to be a little skeptical.

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