Former Penn State wide receiver Allen Robinson signed his franchise tag with the Chicago Bears earlier this offseason, locking him into a one-year deal that pays him the average of the top-five players at the position.
However, the Bears seem amenable to coming to terms on a long-term contract extension with the 27-year-old, who is among the most gifted receivers in the league.
It is entirely possible that Robinson plays under the tag this season, and the Bears have the right to use the tag on him a second time in 2022, but the cost of doing so would be quite prohibitive.
This year, Robinson will collect $18 million under the franchise tag, but if Chicago tags him again, it would cost $21.million. Both sides have incentive to get a long-term contract done … The Bears to create spending flexibility under the cap, and Robinson to get a lucrative long-term deal done before he turns 30.
But, what might a long-term contract between Robinson and the Bears ultimately look like?
NFL.com recently projected that Robinson’s next contract will pay him among the top at the position:
Robinson is one of the most underrated receivers in the NFL. The most effective limiting factor remains the player throwing him the football. His career list of quarterbacks makes the combined list of the Falcons’ Jones, the Chargers’ Allen and the Cowboys’ Cooper (Matt Ryan, Philip Rivers, Justin Herbert, Derek Carr and Dak Prescott) look like a Mount Rushmore of quarterbacks. Even taking into account Jones’ relatively advanced age (32), he is on a different level than the other players listed. However, he is included because he helps round out the $20 million-per-year club at receiver, along with Allen and Cooper. (Hopkins remains an outlier at $27.3 million per year.) Robinson could flirt with joining this club on his next contract.
ROBINSON’S PROJECTED CONTRACT: Three years, $61 million ($20.3 million per year), with $42 million guaranteed
It is entirely possible that Robinson’s next contract eclipses even those figures.
Back in March, the NY Giants signed Kenny Golladay to a four-year contract worth upwards of $76 million, that included up to $42 million guaranteed.
Given that the salary cap is expected to rise exponentially in 2022, and that Robinson caught 102 passes for 1,250 yards and six touchdowns last season to Golladay’s 65 passes for 1,190 with 11 touchdowns in 2019, his last fully healthy season, Robinson’s pay day could be heftier.
It isn’t out of the realm of possibility that Robinson signs a deal that exceeds $80 million in total value in 2022 with guarantees of $45-50 million.
One thing is certain, this will be a fascinating situation to watch play out after the Bears and Robinson were unable to come to terms on a long-term agreement this season, with a lower salary cap figure in play.