Discussing the Franchise Tag is like walking a tightrope. Players don’t necessarily like it because it keeps them from signing the type of free agent deals (or extensions) that provide long-term security. And while teams may find value in the short-term, ideally, the same front offices would probably rather reward those players with contracts that keep them from leaving town anytime soon.
So when it comes to Allen Robinson, Bears GM Ryan Pace sounds as if he is willing to use the Franchise Tag to retain him. But only as a last-ditch measure:
#Bears GM Ryan Pace on Allen Robinson: "We haven't made a firm decision on the franchise tag. We know we have that in our disposal. … We want to keep our good players and Allen is a good player for us."
— NFL Update (@MySportsUpdate) March 2, 2021
Bears GM Ryan Pace: "The franchise tag is an option for us. It doesn’t mean we’re necessarily going to use that. But we want to keep our good players and Allen (Robinson) is a good player for us.”
— Adam Jahns (@adamjahns) March 2, 2021
It really sounds like Pace is planning on Robinson being with the Bears next year, and at this point, it’s just about the terms. Is it a Franchise Tag that pays him $18 million guaranteed in 2021? Or perhaps an extension that starts at $18 million (or more) for the upcoming season? As a reminder, the tag deadline is a week from today.
For what it’s worth, it’s notable that Robinson has not been given a tag to this point. When the Bears placed the Franchise Tag on Alshon Jeffery in 2016, then used the Transition Tag on Kyle Fuller in 2018, it was early-ish in the process. Thus, making their intentions known to the football marketplace. But with Robinson, the Bears have yet to do that. As far as I’m concerned, that’s not inconsequential.
Perhaps the reason behind that could be that they’re still hoping to iron out an extension with Robinson. Maybe they are still awaiting word on the 2021 salary cap number. Getting a firm number in that department would guide some of how a contract is structured. Also, not nailing down a tag early means that if the Bears and Robinson would come to an agreement, Chicago could turn around and slap a tag on Cairo Santos. The tag for kickers carries a smaller number than Robinson’s $18 million, while keeping an ace special teams contributor.
In any case, let’s keep an eye on this situation as it develops.