If there’s one story that’s demanded headlines alongside the Bears’ quarterback search, it’s whether or not the Bears will be able to retain Allen Robinson this season. Robinson has been the single consistent force on the Bears offense over the last three years, culminating in a 102-catch 1,250-yard, six-touchdown season in 2020. When asked about negotiations with Robinson, Ryan Pace sounded like a man who genuinely wanted to bring him back to Halas Hall in 2020.
“We love Allen Robinson,” Pace said. “He’s a great player for us. We know that. And not just the player but the teammate, the professional that he is. Again, the franchise tag is an option for us. It doesn’t mean we’re necessarily going to use that. But we want to keep our good players, and Allen is a good player for us.”
However, from Robinson’s perspective, he doesn’t want to be tagged. Robinson appeared on Cris Collinsworth’s podcast on Tuesday and explained why he would be disappointed if that’s how things shook out this week.
“That’s a tough situation man, because, for myself, I believe I’m deserving of a long-term deal,” Robinson said. “Not only as a player, but as a person who is involved in the culture. You know, I’m a person who— you know, I feel like I’ve helped build Chicago’s culture. I feel like wherever— whether that’s Chicago or somewhere else— wherever my next stop may be, I think I will be a contributing factor to that culture. Again, for myself, that’s a significant value.
“When you talk about a one-year deal, or whatever the case might be, something that you’re kind of forced into— as a player, when you’re coming off of 3,000 yards in three seasons, you help take a team to the playoffs two out of three years, you do feel deserving of the long-term, no matter where that will be. I think that’s kind of what makes the franchise tag so tough. It’s not the fact that I think I could get a long-term deal with probably 31 other teams, you know?... As a player, that should all be up to your discretion.”
Back in February, Robinson explained it a different way in an interview with Tyler Dunne, comparing what football players go through in contract negotiations to any other American worker.
“It would be like if I told somebody, ‘You are qualified for this job. And this is what the other people at that job are making. But you can’t make that,’” Robinson says. “Nobody in America would even do that. You see people go from job to job on an everyday basis in America. They get a job, they fill out another resume because, now, they have the experience. They go from company to company to company, at the same time, increasing their salaries. But for players, when you get in that situation where you’re even up for a contract, it’s almost a lose-lose between the fans and — for a lot of players, not just myself — even the organization and teammates.
“The narrative of the story is so muddied up for no reason at all, when players just want what their value is.”
Instead, Robinson thinks players should be able to control their destinies more when their contracts expire, instead of having to play under one-year deals.
“You can factor things in and say, ‘Do I want to take what here? Do I want to do this? Do I want to do that?’ But, the franchise tag really kind of hinders you, and it really puts a lot of stuff back onto the player. Especially in my situation, where I think that I’ve brought a lot to the game over the past three years. So (being franchise tagged) is a very tough situation to be in. For myself, I’d say that’s on the bottom of my list of choices.”
In recent years, players have started to fight back against the tag, demanding to be traded instead. While things may have changed recently for Robinson, back in February when speaking with Dunne, he didn’t rule that out either.
“It’s definitely an option.”
The deadline for the Bears to place the franchise tag on Robinson is March 9 at 3 p.m.