The reinforcements are on their way for the Chicago Bears and quarterback Mitch Trubisky.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports wide receiver Allen Robinson intends to sign with the Bears – “barring any last-minute snags” – when free agency officially opens up at 3 p.m. on Wednesday. A source confirmed to Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune the Bears will sign Robinson once free agents are eligible to to do so on Wednesday.
Recent rumors had the Bears instead targeting fellow wideout Sammy Watkins, but you know how this time of year goes. Maybe that was true, maybe it was a smokescreen. Whatever the case, although Watkins would have made a suitable target, I think just about everyone was on board with Robinson being the preference, all else equal. (Or maybe the Bears are gonna go reaaaaally nuts and land the top two wide receivers on the market … nah … right?)
Meanwhile, Robinson has reportedly told ESPN’s Josina Anderson he will sign a three-year deal worth $42 million. A total value of $42 million would put Robinson among the 15 highest-paid receivers and the per-year average would put him in the top-10. What percentage of that deal will be guaranteed has yet to be shared, but we’ll cross that bridge in due time. [UPDATE: Ian Rapoport says the guarantee will be in the $25 million range, which is commensurate with that same top 15-ish group of wide receivers.]
Right now, let’s celebrate that GM Ryan Pace identified a position of need, pursued the best free agent at that position, and reached a verbal agreement with the player early in the open negotiation window. The Bears are on the cusp of adding a No. 1 wide receiver to an offense that played without one in 2017.
Robinson will land in Chicago as a certified playmaker who is only two years removed from a breakout season in 2015 when he caught 80 passes for 1,400 yards and a league-leading 14 touchdowns. Sure, Robinson’s numbers took a step back a year later (73 catches, 883 yards, six touchdowns) as Blake Bortles struggled with his accuracy, but his overall stats were still respectable. Robinson seemed primed for another big year in 2017, but his season was cut short due to an ACL injury suffered on the Jaguars’ third offensive play of the season.
Jacksonville didn’t use the franchise tag to retain Robinson for another year or the transition tag to ensure an opportunity to match an offer sheet. That left Robinson open to explore the market and ultimately led him to Chicago, where his signing is the latest sign that a new era of Bears football is approaching.
If and when the deal is finalized, the Bears will suddenly have two excellent options on the outside between Robinson and Cam Meredith … both of whom are returning from an ACL injury. For that reason, as well as the overall need for pass-catching options for Trubisky, you can expect that Robinson won’t be the only pass-catcher the Bears add this offseason.