Darlington: 'Can’t see Robinson playing under tag this year'


Even though contract extension talks between the Bears and Allen Robinson fell apart in 2020, fans still hold out hope that the star receiver could suit up in Chicago in 2021. The key would be Ryan Pace placing the franchise tag on Robinson, keeping him under team control for another year. However on ESPN’s “KJZ” show, Jeff Darlington said he doesn’t believe the tag will be enough to keep Robinson in town.

“Allen Robinson with the Bears, is the one, to me, that has the most intrigue in terms of the potential for fireworks,” Darlington said. “Robinson has been the good soldier. Last year was very frustrated he didn’t get his contract done, but ultimately had another successful season. If they tag him, I just don’t see him playing under the tag.

“I think this gets messy, and GM Ryan Pace has given no sense that he wants to give him the money that seemingly Robinson will deserve on the open market. So that one is the one that has the most potential for, I guess, drama and intrigue. Because I just can’t see Robinson playing under the tag this year.”

There’s certainly a precedent for players making a decision like this. Last season, Yannick Ngakoue refused to play for the Jaguars under the tag. By the end of August the Jags dealt him to Minnesota, where Ngakoue ended up taking a $6 million pay cut just to get out of town. The year before that, Jadeveon Clowney similarly forced his way out of Houston. The Texans eventually traded Clowney to the Seahawks.


In an interview with Tyler Dunne last week, Robinson did say that requesting a trade from the Bears was “an option,” if Pace does tag him. It stems from his disappointment that the Bears and Robinson’s agent failed to come to terms on a contract extension over the last year.

“Unfortunately we’ve come to what seems to be a fork in the road,” Robinson said in the interview with Dunne. “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.”

However, none of these results are foregone conclusions yet. The window to begin designating franchise tag players opened on Monday, and closes on March 9 at 3 p.m.

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