As the season has unfolded, it gets easy for people to become distracted by various things. Would any Chicago Bears fan even recall how Allen Robinson took down all team-related mentions on his social media and requested a trade just a couple of weeks ago? Probably not because that is how crazy 2020 has been.
Yet the situation remains unchanged and a growing concern. Robinson wants a new deal. He doesn’t seem willing to budge off his original demand. ESPN had it around $18 million. A lot of people don’t think he’s worth that much. Looking back on that now? They were right. He’s worth more.
At least that is the way things are trending.
Robinson had 1,147 yards last season for the Bears. He was their best offensive player by a mile. This season not much has changed. The receiver has 421 yards through five games. In case people don’t want to do the math, that puts him on pace for 1,347 yards. Significantly better than 2019 and that’s with two different quarterbacks throwing him the football.
If that holds up, then the Bears can forget their dreams of $16-17 million per year. Even $18 million might be off the table too. Robinson could be in a position to become the fifth receiver to crack $20 million per year.
Allen Robinson is gaining leverage with each passing week
Now it’s well-known the Bears have the franchise tag in their back pocket. If the negotiations go nowhere, they’re almost certain to use it. Even so, Robinson has more leverage than people think. Anybody who has watched this offense knows that everything goes through him. He has over 400 yards. Not another receiver on the roster has yet topped 200.
Try to imagine for a second how this passing game would look without him.
Robinson could lay down that threat next year with a holdout. Tell the Bears to go ahead and try throwing the ball without him on the field. It should be noted the last time they were without him in meaningful games, the Bears passed for a grand total of 342 yards. Or 171 per game. Anthony Miller? Darnell Mooney? Javon Wims? None of those guys appear capable of stepping into his shoes.
This is why the Bears playing hardball was a mistake
Yes, the 2021 salary cap situation is a major concern with its projected $23 million drop. Then again teams have shown time and again an ability to work around cap issues. There is no reason to think the Bears couldn’t structure Robinson’s new deal to keep his cap hit next year nice and low so as not to hit them too hard in the books.
Their decision to try getting him at a discount is proving more and more misguided by the day. Robinson is in position to not only stand firm on his original demand but even increase it. He knows that if the Bears aren’t willing to pay him, somebody else will. Don’t think for a second he’s not determined enough to consider a holdout either.
The Bears are running out of time to fix this.