Allen Robinson‘s contract negotiations with the Chicago Bears have become increasingly dramatic and public. Discussion between the two sides stalled in September, when it was revealed that Robinson felt disrespected by the Bears offers. Since then, virtually no progress has been made as the new league year approaches. This leaves fans wondering what Chicago’s next steps are with Robinson and his agent.
The Current Situation
Despite their differences, Robinson is still willing to stay in Chicago. He likes the city, the fanbase, and feels no animosity towards the Bears front office. However, he told 670 The Score in January that “There are more things that weigh out than just fondness.”
Meanwhile, the Bears clearly appreciate Robinson, both as a player and a person. In Wednesday’s press conference, when asked about extending him, general manager Ryan Pace said “We love Allen Robinson. He’s a great player for us. We want to keep our good players.” Head coach Matt Nagy told the media “A-Rob knows how much we love him. A-Rob knows how much that me as a head coach and Ryan as a general manager, the importance that he brings to the city, to the organization, to his teammates, to all of us.”
There is no doubt the Bears organization wants to see Allen Robinson in a Bears uniform next year. If the two sides are unable to get a deal done, the Bears are left with the franchise tag. The franchise tag gives Chicago the ability to retain Robinson for one more year without needing approval from his side.
Robinson has been outspoken about his preference to not receive the franchise tag. Meanwhile, when asked about the tag, Ryan Pace responded “We have a ton of respect for Allen,” Pace said. “And then we have to do what’s best for the Bears, too. We consider everything. The league gives us the franchise tag as an option — that tool’s there for a reason. We haven’t made a firm decision on any of that yet. But we know we have that at our disposal.”
Despite Allen Robinson’s resistance to the franchise tag, it seems like it might be the best option for the organization.
The Franchise Tag’s Financial Impact
Allen Robinson’s asking price is reportedly at least $20 million annually. The Bears would not be able to pay that much unless they release key players or restructure contracts. It would be even more difficult to afford if they trade for Deshaun Watson or Russell Wilson, two quarterbacks with large contracts. Therefore, spending a large sum of money on a receiver seems imprudent at this point.
Despite being less expensive than re-signing Robinson to a long-term deal, the franchise tag is a lot of money. It is calculated by averaging the current season’s top five players’ cap percentage at the position or 120% of the player’s salary from the year before, depending on which is greater. If Robinson were to be tagged, he would receive $17.88 million. This is more reasonable for the Bears, albeit a large sum.
By franchise tagging Allen Robinson, the Bears would have more money to spend re-upping and revamping crucial positions on their team. It would still be a lot of money, but it is a bit more feasible for Chicago.
Unfortunately, the Bears struggles with cap space make re-signing Robinson quite difficult. They would have a higher chance of affording other key players by franchise tagging him instead of extending him with an expensive long-term contract. Therefore, despite Robinson’s desire to be extending, the smart move would be franchise tagging Robinson. They will just need to hope that he does not cause any issues such as not playing, being unmotivated, etc.
The Bears have until March 9 to tag Allen Robinson. Things are quite up in the air still, but based off of what Ryan Pace and Matt Nagy have expressed when talking about Robinson, expect the star wideout to be franchise tagged.
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