Allen Robinson fancies himself a top 10 wide receiver in the NFL. Is he? That is a debate that has raged among Chicago Bears fans for the past two years now. Some think he absolutely is while others believe he is somewhat overrated. A possession receiver who saw his numbers inflated by lots of targets. This is the epitome of the entire situation. Why the Bears are reluctant to pay Robinson top money. They’ve made it pretty clear they have a ceiling in regards to what they think he’s worth.
So far in 2021? It is difficult not to see the justification in that decision. When looking at Robinson’s numbers to this point, they aren’t good. Just 17 catches for 181 yards and a touchdown. That puts him on pace for 615 yards total this season. A massive dropoff from last year. Some people will argue it’s the quarterback issue. He has a rookie under center and all that. While this doesn’t make life easier, it also simplifies the issue way too much.
The fact is Robinson isn’t playing well.
There are some alarming stats so far this season that stands out with him. The first is he already has two dropped passes. People were so quick to point out how Robinson never drops passes. Some of the surest hands in the league. Yet a number of times that Justin Fields has put the ball on him perfectly, he’s flat out failed to bring it in.
Then there is the other factor already mention. The overall lack of explosiveness. While his route-running is easily the biggest strength of his game, the reality is Robinson hasn’t done a good job of gaining separation this year. According to NFL Next Gen Stats, the best receivers in the league tend to hover around 2.8 to 3.0 yards of separation. That is where you find guys like Davante Adams, Justin Jefferson, and DeAndre Hopkins. Robinson? He is dead last so far this year with 1.7 yards of separation. Again, this isn’t all about the QB.
Allen Robinson is a good receiver but not an elite one
Criticism of the Bears for their handling of the contract situation felt justified at the time. This is a 1,000-yard receiver. This organization doesn’t have many of those. Pay whatever is necessary to keep this guy in navy blue. Except that would not be smart business. GM Ryan Pace’s job is to not just find good players but not overpay them. The common saying is don’t give B-grade talent A-grade money.
That is the situation they’re facing with Allen Robinson. He wants A-grade money. We’re talking $20 million+ per year. That isn’t his fault. His production the past two years warrants it in his mind. Especially with the QBs he’s been playing with. Yet the way he is playing lately isn’t helping his case. It is instead leaning more into the argument that he is a very good possession receiver.
That doesn’t mean he isn’t worth keeping.
He absolutely is. However, it does justify the Bears in how they’ve approached this. Time has proven that Pace was right to stand his ground on the price tag. Even if that meant the potential of losing Robinson in free agency next year. He’s made enough mistakes in contract negotiations to recognize the danger here. See Eddie Jackson. Unless it is undeniable that A-Rob was one of the best in the league, they weren’t going to pay him that money. Now? It’s not happening.