Obviously the best option is for the Chicago Bears to retain Allen Robinson on a reasonable new deal. I just wanted to say that up front, because all that follows is just context for the Bears’ decision on Robinson – extension talks resumed? franchise tag? tag and trade? – rather than me saying, “Oh wow, look at all the other options, no need for Robinson!”
OK. So, with that out of the way, I thought it useful to put on the table: oh wow, look at all the other options!
First of all, you’ve got a 2021 wide receiver draft class that is just as hyped as the vaunted 2020 class (from which Ryan Pace was able to snag Darnell Mooney late in the 5th round). No, you cannot presume a freshly-drafted wide receiver – even an early round guy – is going to step in and replace the production of a top-tier veteran like Robinson, but you probably could presume that the Bears might be able to draft a quality receiver at some point out of this year’s group. There are, what, six or seven first-round-talent receivers (not including nominal tight end Kyle Pitts, who’s really more of a plus-size wide receiver)? And from there, another dozen guys who could grade out as top three round guys?
The point here, again, is not that you can just let Robinson walk because a replacement is waiting there for you in the draft. But instead, the point is that you might be able to get a little more productivity than usual (relative to pick level) at the position coming out of this year’s draft.
More directly, you’ve got other options in free agency, where it is potentially a particularly strong class, with Robinson, himself, right up there. Among the top free-agents-to-be, you’ve got Chris Godwin, Kenny Golladay, Will Fuller, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Corey Davis (he finally broke out), Curtis Samuel (that’s a sneaky upside play right there in an undersized guy), Marvin Jones, Jr., A.J. Green (what’s he got left?), Sammy Watkins, Nelson Agholor, Rashard Higgins, Antonio Brown (not what he once was, and serious off-field issues that should rule him out for most teams), Breshad Perriman, and T.Y. Hilton, among others.
To be sure, not all of those guys will actually reach free agency – I mean, we’re hoping Robinson doesn’t! – but there will be interesting options out there. And it’s not impossible that the right swing on the right young wide receiver could net you a quality WR2 or better – the Bears *did* initially get Robinson in free agency, after all.
Like I said at the top, I just wanted to tee this stuff up as context for both the next two weeks of the tagging period, and also free agency and the draft to follow. The Bears almost certainly can’t do better out there than Allen Robinson, but if you’re going to head into an offseason needing to add a wide receiver or two to help out your quarterback (hey, who’s that gonna be?), then at least this one is among the better looking situations.