The Chicago Bears and Allen Robinson II failed to come to an agreement on a contract extension before today’s 3 p.m. CT deadline for designated Franchise players to receive a multi-year deal. And with that, Robinson will play the 2021 season under the Franchise Tag, where he will make a cool $18 million.
In isolation, that’s not bad. A fully guaranteed $18 million is nothing to sneeze at. But it’s not what Robinson was seeking.
Chris Emma of 670 the Score reports Robinson was seeking a deal worth $20 million per year when he and the Bears were negotiating (i.e. something that would put him in the ballpark of Amari Cooper ($20M AAV) or Keenan Allen ($20.025M AAV), both of whom were able to come to terms and sign extensions last year). Unfortunately, the Bears’ best offer reportedly came in around $16 million per year (i.e. something in the range of what Cooper Kupp ($16M AAV) was given in his 2020 extension). All of this is disappointing on so many levels.
Robinson has consecutive 1,000-yard receiving seasons despite catching balls from Mitchell Trubisky, Chase Daniel, and Nick Foles. On top of that, he has been a leader off the field and in the locker room. No, Robinson hasn’t been able to play with a Pro Bowl QB like Cooper does with Dak Prescott (or Allen with Justin Herbert). Nor has Robinson been able to work in an offense with like what Sean McVay runs. And yet, he puts up numbers. It all makes me want to yell at my computer screen while typing. Mostly because the Bears blew a chance to make this a non-issue by not handling it properly last year.
In January 2020, Eddie Jackson was given an extension that reset the safety market. A few months later, the team threw a hefty chunk of its available cap space at pass-rusher Robert Quinn. It’s not that the Bears haven’t spent money. They have. It’s just that we’ve been discussing a Robinson extension since November 2019 and the two sides never truly seemed close. Even when there was optimism, it came with a but (because there’s always a but).
Back in September, Chairman George McCaskey offered optimism a deal would get done between the sides. If you’ll recall, Robinson was reportedly seeking something in the neighborhood of $18 million per year. But on the other side of the negotiation table, Chicago was countering with something in the $16 million range. That the Bears haven’t moved from their stance despite the market price going up is frustrating. And it will get only more bothersome when players such as Calvin Ridley, A.J. Brown, Davante Adams, and DK Metcalf reset the market in the next year to come.
And because I’m in a place where I think I can add salt to the wound and not expect it to sting, Emma adds that Robinson’s representation and the team haven’t had serious conversations regarding an extension since September 2020. I imagine it is difficult to get a deal done with both sides aren’t talking shop in earnest. And with the Bears’ best offer came in around $16 million per year, then perhaps a deal wasn’t meant to be.