The first round of the playoffs came to an end Sunday, and so did the Chicago Bears' 2020 season. The Bears, who made the playoffs as the seventh seed in the NFL’s newly expanded playoffs, lost 21-9 to the New Orleans Saints. The game symbolized what has haunted Chicago for what seems like an eternity: a strong defensive performance but the offense failing to hold up their end of the bargain.
Now that the season is over, head coach Matt Nagy and general manager Ryan Pace, who, per reports, are both safe for another year, can spend time reviewing what went wrong this season and how they can fix it moving forward. The Bears will almost certainly look to address the team’s quarterback situation, which saw them play both Mitchell Trubisky and Nick Foles as neither won the confidence of the organization with their inconsistent play. The team will also look to improve an offensive line that for the most part was underwhelming this season.
While those are two of the biggest concerns Bears' decision-makers have to sort out, one other major question for Chicago's front office heading into the offseason is what the team is going to do with star receiver Allen Robinson.
Robinson is set to become a free agent as his three-year, $42 million deal is set to expire in March. After yet another strong season which saw him finish with 102 catches for 1,250 yards and six touchdowns, Robinson wants to be properly compensated. Now, one would think that the Bears would make re-signing Robinson a priority, as over the last two seasons caught 200 balls for 2,397 receiving yards, and 13 touchdowns all while playing with mediocre quarterbacks. However, the Bears appear hesitant to give Robinson a new deal. Robinson told reporters when asked about a potential new deal that, “We had an opportunity to get something done over the last 365 days”. Robinson is speaking like a man who no longer cares to negotiate with this ball club and wants out of Chicago.
The frustrations started to show themselves earlier this season when after reports of contract negotiations going badly, Robinson deleted everything related to the Bears off of his social media. This led to players on the Bears joining fans on social media with positing the hashtag #ExtendAllenRobinson pleading with the Bears front office to do the right thing. Of course, no extension came and here we are. While Robinson once expressed interest in staying with Chicago for the foreseeable future, now it appears he is looking to leave. “Right now everything is on the table,” Robinson told the media on Monday.
Now the Bears still hold leverage here, as they could simply place the franchise tag on Robinson if the sides fail to agree to a new deal, but Robinson has been very clear that he would be unhappy with the tag. If Robinson does end up reaching free agency, he will be one of the best overall available free agents.
In Robinson, teams would be getting a young—only 27—No. 1 receiver who has proven to produce no matter who the quarterback is. Robinson is the total package. He has the size, athleticism, body control, and hands to consistently win on the outside. Robinson is truly one of the more underrated receivers in all of football, and very rarely do players of his ability actually reach the open market.
There will be many teams in need of Robinson’s services if he hits free agency, and I would expect him to receive a monstrous contract. However, if I am Robinson, money would certainly be a huge factor in my decision, but I would value the offensive situation, and more importantly, the team’s quarterback situation as I look to sign with a new team.
Here are three teams that I think could make a run at Robinson that I believe would be good fits for both sides.
I think this is far and away the best option for Robinson. The Ravens are sorely needing a receiver who can win in contested situations and can give quarterback Lamar Jackson some size to throw to. While Hollywood Brown is a good player, he is not a true No. 1 option, and that is exactly what Jackson needs if he is going to take that next step as a passer. A perfect example of this is how the arrival of Stefon Diggs to the Buffalo Bills accelerated Josh Allen’s development. Robinson would take this offense to a whole new level.
Could Robinson be down to make his way back to Duval? Probably not, but it would make a lot of sense. The Jaguars have a lot of cap space to pay him what he is looking for and he would also have the opportunity to catch passes from future Jacksonville starting quarterback Trevor Lawrence. The Jaguars have some good young talent at the receiver position already, but don’t have a single player nearly as talented as Robinson. Allowing Lawrence to walk into an offense that has a receiving corps of Robinson, D.J. Chark, Laviska Shenault, and Collin Johnson would be a great way to ensure he succeeds.
The Bengals could be an intriguing option for Robinson as he will get a chance to catch passes from quarterback Joe Burrow. Burrow proved to be well worth the No. 1 pick in last year’s draft and is poised to be one of the better quarterbacks in the NFL moving forward. The Bengals are set to let their legend A.J. Green walk in free agency and could use a big-play difference-maker to pair with Burrow. Similar to Jacksonville, this offense does have some quality receivers already in Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins, but adding Robinson to that group would make it impossible for defenses to stop.
Where Robinson ends up in free agency is one of the bigger storylines of this offseason. He wants to get paid like a No. 1 and should be paid like a No. 1. He should also want to play with better quarterbacks. I hope he gets both of his wishes.