We all knew that Allen Robinson was unhappy with the Bears as he and the team have been unable to work out a contract extension. His agent, Brandon Parker, said so last September. But Robinson’s feelings towards the team may be worse than anyone imagined. In an article published Thursday, Tyler Dunne spoke with Robinson, and the star receiver did not hold back when sharing how he thought negotiations with the team went wrong.
“Unfortunately we’ve come to what seems to be a fork in the road,” Robinson said via Go Long. “But not even a fork. We haven’t even been given a viable option to be able to do those things that we want to do without sacrificing a ridiculous amount pretty much for the rest of my career.”
The way Robinson and Parker explain it, they reached out to the Bears around last year’s NFL Combine, but the team never truly started engaging in contract negotiations until a week before the regular season began. It’s insinuated that the team used the ticking time bomb of returning to the field and risking injury to low ball Robinson and hopefully get him to sign a cheaper deal.
“For myself — as much as I wanted a deal done — I wanted a fair deal,” Robinson said.
“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.”
Parker thinks Robinson’s negotiations with the Bears can stand alongside Deshaun Watson’s trade demands in Houston, or Stefon Diggs’ similar demands last year. It’s the beginning of players taking some power back to control their own destinies.
“To stand your ground when things aren’t fair and things aren’t right is the only way we’re going to get closer to changing the landscape of the NFL,” Parker said. “We have the platform and we believe we have the responsibility to at least get what we’re worth.
“At the very least.”
But at this point, the Bears and Ryan Pace have essentially telegraphed that they will franchise tag Robinson.
"You know how we feel about Allen, how respected he is in the building,” Pace said during the Bears’ end-of-season press conference. “But to get into specifics on his contract, you guys also know I’m not going to get into that. In regard to the franchise tag, I would just say everything is on the table. The league gives us tools for a reason but right now we’re just going to keep all those talks internal out of respect to Allen, out of respect to his agent. I just think those are best handled in a private manner."
If it does come to being franchise tagged, Robinson used similar language to describe the possibility of requesting a trade.
“It’s definitely an option.”
Throughout all this hard ball and hard feelings, Robinson maintains he loves Chicago, and wants to leave a legacy as the best receiver in Bears’ history.
“My personal opinion, if something could possibly work? Yes,” Robinson said. “I’m not opposed to being back in Chicago by any means. I’ve even expressed that over the last couple of years— wanting to be the all-time leading receiver in Chicago which, I believe, I’m under 2,000 yards away from that...
“I do have a lot of love for the city of Chicago. I think that gets skewed in the talks— my feelings for Chicago. For me, it’s really about evaluating what’s best for my career. For myself, I’m always a team guy and always have been a team guy. Once you get to these points in your career where you’ve played out your contract and you’re becoming a free agent, you have to sit back and think about what’s best for you not only on the field but for your family...
“For myself, as a person and a player, I think the city of Chicago has an outstanding fan base. The best fan base I’ve played for in the NFL. I am thoughtful of that through the process because, for myself, I never want to feel like I don’t enjoy the city of Chicago. They’ve embraced my foundation in the community. I built a ton of relationships. But, unfortunately, those aren’t the things that weigh the most in a situation like this.”