Everybody is talking about the quarterback situation. That isn’t a surprise. Still, the Chicago Bears can’t afford to devote every waking minute to it. They have other business to attend to. Probably none bigger than Allen Robinson. Their star wide receiver has put together back-to-back seasons over 1,000 yards. He’s the first to top over 1,200 in a season since Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall both did in 2013.

Nobody else was remotely close to him. Darnell Mooney, who finished second among wide receivers, had just 631. Robinson is the unquestioned best player on the Bears offense. That is why the thought of losing him isn’t something fans want to contemplate. Yet the closer free agency nears on March 17th, the greater the chances it becomes a reality.

As of now, it doesn’t look like a long-term deal is possible.

That leaves the team with two alternatives. Either they let him walk, settling for a compensatory 3rd round pick in 2022. Or they franchise tag him. That would lock him in on a one-year contract for next season. Robinson has made it clear through public comments and social media that he hates the tag. He even pushed for it to be abolished during negotiations for the new CBA.

That is why if Chicago decides to use it, Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune warns the wide receiver will have an icy response.

“If the Bears tag Robinson, which would buy them time to negotiate a multiyear contract, my hunch is Robinson would decline to sign the tender. That would allow him to skip the offseason program and potentially training camp without penalty.”

Allen Robinson is a good teammate but also has standards

He believes in his ability and should be compensated accordingly. After the past two seasons, the 27-year old thinks he is one of the best receivers in football. Considering the caliber of quarterbacks who’ve been throwing to him? It’s difficult to dispute that. So it isn’t a huge surprise his contract demands are high. The Bears are just reluctant to meet them.

This has a lot of people angry. So they can give Eddie Jackson, who was not great in 2020, a massive new contract but not Allen Robinson? One guy means way more to his unit than the other does. With all due respect to Jackson. The Bears defense would still be pretty solid with the safety on the field. Such would not be the case on offense without Robinson.

This is undoubtedly why he’s playing hardball.

Well, that and the team’s ongoing inability to get the quarterback position settled. Robinson isn’t out to make himself a distraction. Even so, he has to make some sort of statement to express his displeasure with being franchise tagged. Holding out through training camp would be a suitable way to get their attention. Holdouts always generate news around the NFL. One can bet the Bears won’t enjoy fielding constant questions about when Robinson will come in.

Then again they’ll probably know exactly what they’re getting into when the tag comes into play. Who knows. Maybe the two sides strike a deal at the eleventh hour. Maybe the Bears actually add a viable quarterback that gets Robinson intrigued enough to return to the negotiating table. This situation remains fluid and it’s still almost two months until things really come to a head.

Pace has worked unexpected miracles before. Maybe he has another in his back pocket somewhere.