When debating how the Bears can improve their offense next season, most fans focus on the same points: finding a new starter at QB, and making sure the team employs a consistent playcaller not named Matt Nagy. But Sunday Night Football’s Chris Simms says one of the Bears’ most important moves will be going back to more of the same. He says the Bears need to find a way to retain Allen Robinson.
“He’s a difference maker,” Simms told NBC Sports Chicago. “He’s a gameplan changer, or at least makes the defensive coordinator that’s facing the Bears think about, ‘How do we want to attack Allen Robinson?’”
Simms recognizes the Bears have other talented receivers on the roster, but reiterated that Robinson is a unique talent.
“Mooney is special. The offense doesn’t lend itself to an Anthony Miller, slot-type guy, so I don’t know what happens there… But the big thing with Allen Robinson is that he’s a rare guy, in that he’s a one-on-one beater. You can always trust him from that aspect. There’s really no weakness to his game, he can run just about any route there is. Can go over the middle, can beat you deep, phenomenal with 50-50 balls.
“And in this day and age in the NFL, with the offense and passing game so favored by the rules and everything that’s implemented there, that’s why you have that guy. ‘Oh, I’m in trouble, nobody’s open. Oh, wait it’s one-on-one with him? Let me throw it up. Oh, they’re bringing a crazy blitz? Let me throw a back shoulder to Allen Robinson. Oh, they’re pressing him? Ok, he’s going to run by them and I’ll throw it up to him that way.”
Robinson signed a three-year, $42-million contract in 2018, so he’s set to be a free agent this offseason and is likely to command an expensive deal. However, the Bears could prevent Robinson from hitting the open market if they place the franchise tag on him before free agency begins. According to Pro Football Focus, that tag would cost the team around $18 million.
In 2020, Robinson became only the fourth Bear to catch over 100 passes in season (although Brandon Marshall did it twice). His 102 receptions tied Matt Forte for the second-most in franchise history.
“Allen Robinson can really do it all,” Simms said. “So it will be interesting to see where it goes… but I do think you need Allen Robinson back.”