The Bears can’t help but talk about the value they place on wide receiver Allen Robinson.
They have one more day to act.
If the team and their receiver do not agree to a contract extension by 3 p.m. Thursday – they are unlikely to close a deal – Robinson will play the 2021 season on the $ 17.9 million franchise tag . He had also become an unrestricted free agent in 2022, unless the Bears decide to mark him again.
It would frustrate Robinson even more, who has publicly said he wants a long-term deal over the past year and a half. As early as December 2019, Robinson said he wanted to stay with the franchise long enough to become the Bears’ all-time leading wide receiver. It’s close at hand – two more seasons at Robinson’s current pace would overtake Johnny Morris, whose 5,059 career yards have been recorded since 1967.
The Bears, of course, must find a way to keep Robinson long enough to reach the milestone. Whether the two sides have been so divided over its worth over the past year and a half remains puzzling.
Over the past two years, the list of wide receivers with more receiving yards than Robinson has two names on it. Only Stefon Diggs of the Bills and DeAndre Hopkins of the Cardinals can surpass Robinson’s 2,397 yards.
Only two receivers have recorded more than 200 Robinson catches in the same span: Hopkins and Keenan Allen of the Chargers.
Over the past two years, these three receivers have caught assists from 2021 MVP finalist (Josh Allen of the Bills); the last two rookies of the year (Chargers Justin Herbert and Cardinals Kyler Murray); a three-time Pro Bowl quarterback (Texans’ Deshaun Watson); a likely future Hall of Fame (Chargers Philip Rivers); and Kirk Cousins, the Viking ferryman whose base salary of $ 21 million this year is the second highest in the sport.
Robinson, meanwhile, was being cast by Mitch Trubisky, Nick Foles and Chase Daniel. That degree of difficulty makes it easy to project even more showy stats for Robinson, 27, had he ever been associated with a franchise quarterback – at Halas Hall or elsewhere. If the Bears let Robinson walk after this season, Justin Fields, who the Bears hope to be their franchise quarterback, will not have one of the league’s top twelve receivers at his disposal in 2022.
The Bears aren’t the only team shying away from making a long-term investment in receivers, however. Last offseason, the Bills traded Diggs and the Texans traded Hopkins – the two players above Robinson on the receiving yard list. Hopkins then signed a two-year, $ 54.5 million extension with the Cardinals.
The Chargers granted Allen a four-year extension of $ 80.1 million, with $ 43 million guaranteed, in September – a good benchmark for Robinson’s value. Around the same time, Robinson was so annoyed by his own standoff that his side inquired about a trade – but did not request a trade from the Bears.
The receiver market cooled in March. The Giants gave Kenny Golladay the only impressive free agent contract, a four-year, $ 72 million contract with $ 40 million guaranteed.
Robinson has played the past three years on the $ 42 million contract he signed with the Bears in March 2018 while recovering from a torn knee. He outclassed that deal, catching 255 balls for 3,151 yards over three years, before signing the tender in March.
He did not participate in voluntary training, but attended the mandatory minicamp in June. He said he wouldn’t hold training camp, which begins July 27, if he let him play on the franchise tag.
Robinson said last month an overtime was out of his control, but he was “comfortable with it”.
The Bears, however, shouldn’t be able to say the same thing – with a straight face, at least – if, after Thursday, they let the standoff continue for another year.