It can be true that Allen Robinson wants to remain in Chicago, but also feels resentment for how the past year has gone.
In the aftermath of Sunday’s 21-9 loss to the New Orleans Saints, Robinson said Monday morning that everything is on the table. That could mean staying in Chicago, that could mean taking his talents elsewhere.
“From my standpoint, I personally feel like we had an opportunity to be able to get something done over the past 365 days,” Robinson said Monday. “But again, I don’t know that that really affects me too much as far as however things play out.”
It’s only natural to be feeling mixed emotions as a difficult season comes to an end, a season that featured a six-game losing streak, but still ended with a playoff appearance.
Robinson and the Bears couldn’t agree to the terms of a contract extension last offseason. Going into the final year of the three-year, $42 million deal he signed prior to the 2018 season, Robinson wanted an extension.
Some of his peers cashed in during training camp, just before the season. DeAndre Hopkins signed a two-year extension with the Arizona Cardinals worth $54.5 million. Keenan Allen signed a four-year contract with the Los Angeles Chargers worth up to $80 million. Cooper Kupp signed a three-year extension with the Los Angeles Rams worth up to $48 million.
Meanwhile, Robinson waited.
Days after the season-opening comeback victory against the Detroit Lions, Robinson deleted all evidence of the Chicago Bears from his Instagram account.
He downplayed the move a day later, when he spoke with the media. Even so, it sent a clear message. One doesn’t simply delete select aspects of their social media history without a purpose.
“I personally feel like we had an opportunity to be able to get something done over the past 365 days.”— Bears WR Allen Robinson
Through it all, Robinson put the focus on the team, at least with the media. As far as professional athletes go, Robinson is pretty candid with the press. Members of the Chicago media awarded him the Good Guy Award in 2019, given annually to a Bears employee for their professionalism in dealing with the media.
Although Robinson wouldn’t go so far as to criticize a teammate or a coach, he is willing to admit when he could have done something better or give his assessment of how the team performed. So when Robinson says he doesn’t know what the next step is, it’s hard not to believe him.
He’s clearly not interested in the franchise tag, which is one option the Bears have at their disposal.
“I’m not going to get into that right now,” Robinson said. “Again, I think everybody knows a little bit on how I feel about that.”
Pressed further on the issue, Robinson laughed and said, “I plead the fifth.”
Robinson completed his third 1,000-yard season. He led the Bears in receptions (102) and receiving yards (1,250). His six receiving touchdowns led all receivers and trailed only tight end Jimmy Graham.
When the Bears were in doubt, they more likely than not threw the ball Robinson’s way. He has been an integral piece of what they do on the offensive side of the ball over the past three years. He cannot be replaced easily.
Yet, with so much up in the air, it’s anybody’s guess what happens next. The Bears first have to decide if they’re going to keep general manager Ryan Pace and head coach Matt Nagy, decisions that likely are taking place this week. What to do at the quarterback position then becomes the next question.
Would Robinson even want to come back if the Bears bring back Trubisky? By all accounts, they are good teammates and friendly with each other. Their lockers are next to each other at Halas Hall, or at least they were in 2019 when reporters were last allowed in the building.
But Robinson probably could put up even better numbers if he played with a quarterback who could throw the ball down field with more success. Asked what he is looking for in a quarterback, Robinson sidestepped the question, saying, “That’s tough to say.”
“Coming down to the end of my contract, now [I’m] looking at: OK, how do I perceive the next however many years of my career?” Robinson said. “That’s what it comes down to. Like I said before, we’ve won a lot of games over the past three years – more games than a lot of teams have won in the league over the last three years. It’s just a ton of factors that affect [the decision]. I wouldn’t say that one or the other outweighs any one.”
Given that the price wasn’t right last offseason, it doesn’t seem likely that’s going to change now. And the Bears can’t pay everybody, but they’re going to need to pay a quarterback.
According to Spotrac.com, the Bears have no cap space available for 2021, as of now. Obviously, they’re going to have to tinker with that through cuts, contract restructuring and trades. It could come down to the simple fact that the Bears don’t have the cap room for Robinson next season.
All of that will come in the next few months.