Retaining Allen Robinson must be and likely is the primary non-quarterback goal for the Chicago Bears this offseason. It’s a matter of how they go about doing that. Can they convince him to sign a long-term deal? Probably not without said quarterback. So that leaves the franchise tag. It should at least buy them more time to keep talking with him or secure one more season of standout play.
However, there is another option on the table. One a lot of people think GM Ryan Pace may have to consider. What about a tag-and-trade scenario? Essentially they franchise tag Robinson and then make him available via trade. Given his obvious value as a top wide receiver, there is likely to be one or two teams interested in dealing for him.
The big question is what could they get in return?
Some have high hopes of a possible 1st round pick. Maybe the receiver-needy Baltimore Ravens might give up #27 overall? That doesn’t seem likely though. Not with a pretty solid free agent class and another strong crop of draft prospects. According to Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune, the more practical return will be closer to a late Day 2 pick.
“I would not rule out the possibility of a tag-and-trade scenario for Robinson, but the odds are pretty remote. The Bears need to keep Robinson if they want to turn things around next season. There is no way they could get a first-round pick for Robinson in this scenario as the Ravens would be the team paying him with a new contract. You’re probably looking at a third-round pick, maybe a third-rounder and a little more.”
The idea here is the Bears have a choice. If they let Robinson walk in free agency, he’d net them a 3rd round compensatory pick in 2022. By trading him immediately, they can get that 3rd round pick in 2021 and maybe a little extra. It isn’t the preferred result a lot of Bears fans would be looking for. Still, if the team has to let him depart this might be the best way to do it.
The Allen Robinson story doesn’t have a written ending yet
It’s important to understand that the Bears aren’t out of time. They have options on the table. The idea of a long-term extension seems remote but that can change quickly. Maybe they make a stronger offer to keep him. Or maybe they find a quarterback he’s willing or even anxious to work with. Sure it sounds crazy with this team but anything is possible.
At worst they tag him and keep him around for one more year. He probably won’t report for training camp if tagged which shouldn’t be a surprise. Still, when the time comes he’ll play. The Bears are going to need him. If it ends up having to be a trade though? A 3rd round pick and a late rounder isn’t premium but it at least gives them more flexibility in the draft. Along with their two projected compensatory picks, that makes 10 total.
Plenty of ammunition to reload an aging roster with young talent.
Losing Allen Robinson would be tough. Further proof the Bears have a terrible time keeping good offensive players long-term. Probably a byproduct of their ongoing problems at quarterback. Receivers don’t want to stay with guys who can’t get them the football. It’s hard to blame him for feeling that way. His value is directly tied to the one throwing him the ball. If Chicago won’t find him one, then he’ll have to go hunting himself.