With the NFL Trade Deadline coming next week, and with his long-term future with the Chicago Bears perpetually in doubt, you understand why the question is coming up: should the Bears be shopping Allen Robinson?
I see it everywhere, and it makes total sense. Robinson is languishing through his worst season in years – largely not his fault – and he is not going to be the difference between a Bears team that makes a serious run this year and one that doesn’t. Moreover, there’s very little reason to expect at this point that the Bears are going to sign him long-term after this season (or that he’ll want to return), and the whole situation has had a “playing out the string” feeling since he signed his franchise tag earlier this year.
Maybe your one argument in favor of retention is that Robinson’s presence could help Justin Fields develop this year. And while I won’t tell you that point is wholly without merit, I will note what we’ve seen so far. Robinson’s presence has been a zero factor in Fields’ performance, again, mostly for reasons (including one Robinson brought up recently) wholly out of Robinson’s control. He ain’t calling plays and he ain’t a right tackle.
So, yeah. If there’s value out there to be had for Robinson, it only makes sense that the Bears should go find it. You’re not going to get a first for a Robinson rental, but maybe a late second? A third? I’d strongly consider it.
Buuuuuut here’s the thing. There’s just no chance those talks will happen. No matter how sensible.
We already know the situation with the Bears right now: Ryan Pace and Matt Nagy are desperate to extend their careers in Chicago. They know everything has been put on the line this year to show competitiveness and, maybe more importantly, a developing Fields. Pace, in particular, has already sacrificed plenty of the future for this year, mortgaging future cap space and trading future picks for fill-in return men. Do you really think he’s going to do anything that could ding this year’s team for future draft capital? Future draft capital that he knows he might not even get to use?
It’s the problem we’ve pointed to time and time again over the past two years. When you continuously allow those in charge to be managing for their jobs, they do everything they can to just-win-one-more-game, even if it comes at the expense of everything else that comes after. It’s an absolutely terrible setup. And it leads to conversations like this one.
Thus, whether it makes sense to shop Allen Robinson (or David Montgomery, or anyone else) this week, I have zero expectation the Bears will do it. Frankly, I doubt they would even accept a mid-second-rounder for Robinson right now even if another team approached them with that offer. It’s nuts. I know. But that’s the situation.
So, what’s a Bears fan to do? I guess just keep rooting for Fields development, first and foremost. Maybe he and Robinson finally get on rhythm, and it turns out that keeping Robinson was an incredibly important factor for Fields this year. And the playoffs? I mean, OK. Sure. I’ll keep rooting for that, too, though I’d love for that alone not to become another excuse to keep extending the current leadership year-to-year.