The Chicago Bears appear to have put their quarterback plans on pause for the time being. As has the rest of the NFL. Expectations are most of the big names left on the market may not see any real action until closer to the draft. With that being the case, GM Ryan Pace has other business he must take care of. None bigger than the situation with Allen Robinson.
Months have passed with no movement on a new contract for the 27-year old wide receiver. This despite him finishing his second-straight season over 1,000 yards. Who is to blame for this debacle? Robinson is pointing the finger at the Bears, which is only natural. He feels they haven’t made an offer that is equal to what he considers fair market value.
Pace for his part has gone on record saying the 2021 salary cap is a big issue.
Namely the uncertainty of what it will be. Teams still have no clear indication. All they’ve learned to this point is it will have a floor of $180 million. This would put the Bears a few million over the cap. They need to know where they stand before they can proceed with any sort of extension talks. The problem is they may not get such clarification until right before the new league year begins on March 17th.
This is why expectations are the Bears will end up using the franchise tag on Robinson. They can’t afford to let him reach the open market. At the same time, the receiver has made it abundantly clear what his feelings on the tag are. Some even think he’d be willing to not play in 2021 if things went that direction. All of it leads to the toughest question.
Would the Bears consider trading him?
Allen Robinson tag-and-trade isn’t off the table
There was a time when teams who tagged players were completely intent on keeping them. However, in recent years there has been an uptick in a willingness to tag and trade players. In 2018, Miami traded Jarvis Landry to the Cleveland Browns. A year later, Jadeveon Clowney was traded to Seattle while the Seahawks simultaneously the tagged Frank Clark to Kansas City. The Chiefs also dealt their own tagged Dee Ford to San Francisco. Last but certainly not least, the Jaguars traded Yannick Ngakoue to Minnesota last year.
Could the same fate befall Allen Robinson? It is a possibility. According to a source, the Bears have received phone calls from a number of NFL teams about the receiver’s situation. Teams who might be interested if Chicago does indeed end up tagging him as expected. Pace is listening. Whether it gets to that point remains uncertain.
The Bears don’t want to lose Robinson. They value him.
Yet it’s hard not to see the writing on the wall. There are no signs of progress on a long-term extension. It doesn’t look like there ever will be. A choice must be made. Do they take what they can get for him in a trade now? Or do they tag him and risk things getting ugly real fast? Not an enviable position to be in. Replacing Robinson would be a monumental challenge in the short-term for Chicago and a potential gut-punch to Pace’s efforts to save his job beyond 2021.