It’s now official, although maybe not a surprise.
Bears wide receiver Allen Robinson will play the 2021 season on a one-year franchise tag deal worth $17.88 million. The team and Robinson couldn’t agree on a long-term extension by the 3 p.m. Thursday deadline.
NFL teams can place one player each year on the franchise tag, keeping a player on the team for one additional year after their contract has expired. The team can do this up to three times with a player.
The Bears tagged Robinson, 27, after the three-year, $42 million contract he signed in 2018 expired. Despite being vocal about his dislike for the franchise tag, Robinson signed his one-year franchise tag tender in March. He and the team had until Thursday to agree to an extension before the 2021 season. Now that the deadline has passed, they cannot negotiate again until after the season.
“I’m just focusing on things I can control, coming back, being the best player I can be, trying to help the offense continue to improve,” Robinson said in June. “That’s the main focus for me right now, just controlling what I can. Helping myself to be better will help this team to be better and, obviously, will help us from an organizational standpoint.”
Robinson is one of six players across the league who will play on the one-year franchise tag tender. The others are Tampa Bay Buccaneers receiver Chris Godwin, New York Jets safety Marcus Maye, New Orleans Saints safety Marcus Williams, Jacksonville Jaguars tackle Cam Robinson and Washington Football Team guard Brandon Scherff.
Carolina tackle Taylor Moton, who was under the franchise tag, agreed to a four-year, $72 million contract with the Panthers hours before the deadline.
The contract drama with Robinson dates back more than a year. The team and Robinson couldn’t agree to an extension during the offseason last year, as the final season of his contract approached. A week into the 2020 regular season, Robinson deleted much of the Bears content from his Instagram account.
Robinson certainly wants the stability that comes with a long-term contract. The inability to complete a deal hurts the Bears, too, though. If they had agreed to a contract, the Bears could’ve spread out Robinson’s nearly $18 million 2021 salary cap hit over multiple years – pushing some of that cost into future years – freeing up additional cap space for this season. Instead, Robinson is the single-biggest cap hit on the roster this season, taking up about 8.5% of the $211 million salary cap.
Robinson has posted back-to-back 1,000-yard receiving seasons. He led the Bears with 102 receptions and 1,250 receiving yards last season, while also scoring six touchdowns. He has been one of the top offensive playmakers for the Bears over his three seasons in Chicago.