Chicago Bears receiver Allen Robinson can’t say right now what his future holds or even what jersey he’ll be wearing when the 2021 NFL season begins next fall.
A day after Robinson and the Bears suffered a season-ending 21-9 playoff loss to the New Orleans Saints, Robinson stressed he will be keeping an open mind and open eyes as he waits for his next contract.
“Right now, everything is pretty much on the table,” Robinson said in a Zoom call from Halas Hall on Monday morning.
Robinson had six catches for 55 yards in Sunday’s loss after a productive 2020 season that saw him reach 100 catches for the first time in his career. Robinson finished the regular season with 102 catches, 1,250 yards and six touchdowns.
In three seasons since signing with the Bears in the spring of 2018, he has recorded 255 receptions, 3,151 yards and 17 touchdowns. But his contract is set to expire in March. Negotiations for a possible extension with the Bears have been at a standstill for months, leaving Robinson with a sour taste in his mouth.
The Bears can consider placing him under the franchise tag for 2021. But Robinson, who avoided the franchise tag on his way out of Jacksonville three years ago, has made it clear he wouldn’t be happy if that were the direction the organization opted to go.
“I’m not going to get into that right now,” Robinson said. “Again, I think everybody knows a little bit on how I feel about that.”
Robinson was also asked Monday about his eagerness to potentially test the waters of free agency again. He said he was in a much different place in his career in 2018 when he became a free agent during his rehabilitation and recovery from a torn anterior cruciate ligament.
“There was a lot more weight on me and a lot more going through my mind (then),” he said. “Now, being able to finish this season healthy and stepping into whatever the next chapter is healthy, I think that’s the most exciting thing for me.”
Robinson praised the McCaskey family and the Payton family and emphasized his appreciation for the city of Chicago. He also expressed respect for the Bears coaching staff and front office. “I do have a great fondness for this city and for the organization,” Robinson said. “But unfortunately in a situation like this, that isn’t the only thing that matters. ... Sometimes in things like this there are more things that weigh out than just fondness.”
Robinson will be seeking to be paid like one of the best receivers in football as he plans his future for next season and beyond. The franchise tag for receivers in 2020 was just shy of $17.9 million. Last March, Cowboys receiver Amari Cooper agreed to a five-year, $100 million extension to remain in Dallas. In September, Keenan Allen signed a four-year, $80 million extension with the Los Angeles Chargers.
Robinson said Monday that as he decompresses from this season, he will “take a deep dive and just talk to my family and see what’s best for us.” The financial part of Robinson’s deep dive will almost certainly remain one of his bigger priorities, if not the biggest. He was also asked Monday what he will be evaluating in teams going forward in terms of quarterback stability and offensive production.
The Bears, of course, have major questions about who their starting quarterback will be in 2021 and have struggled on offense for most of the past two seasons.
“When I came to Chicago, I know there were a ton of people who thought I wasn’t making the best decision for my career then,” Robinson said. “At the same time, I knew with Coach Nagy, with the team that we had and everything like that, that I was doing what was best for my career. Coming down to the end of my contract now, it’ll be looking at, OK, how do I perceive the next however many years of my career? Again, that’s what it comes down to.
“Like I said before, we have won a lot of games over the past three years -- more games than a lot of teams. ... Again there are just a ton of factors that kind of affect (the decision).”