Free agency doesn’t officially open up for another 19 days, so things can change between now and then. But as of now, the best wide receiver who can hit the open market has yet to engage in long-term contract talks with his team.
Jaguars beat reporter Mike Kaye of First Coast News has spoken to Allen Robinson, who informed Kaye the two sides have yet to jump into contract negotiations that would keep him in Jacksonville for the long haul. In fact, Robinson informs Kaye the sides haven’t done so since training camp. Kaye is quick to point out – and rightfully so – that it’s still relatively early in the offseason and negotiations could begin at a moment’s notice.
It could be a moot point as the Jaguars could use the franchise tag to retain Robinson on a one-year deal worth an estimated $16.2 million. Jacksonville currently has $18,035,444 in salary cap space, according to OverTheCap.com. Giving Robinson the franchise tag would impact the entire Jaguars roster to the point where Jacksonville would need to clear cap space to keep Robinson and make the necessary upgrades to stay competitive in the AFC after getting to the conference title game.
While the Jaguars are open to using the tag to keep Robinson, the team could decide against using it in order to take care of the rest of the roster. Surely, the Bears wouldn’t mind if that’s the scenario that ultimately unfolded in Jacksonville.
Last week, NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport mentioned the Bears, Redskins, 49ers, and Raiders as teams that will be interested in signing Robinson if he becomes a free agent. And with Davante Adams re-signing with the Packers and the Dolphins using the franchise tag to keep Jarvis Landry with the team, Robinson would be far-and-away the highest rated wide receiver to hit free agency. What happens with Robinson could dictate the direction of the Bears’ offseason. Stay tuned.