The Bears officially placed the franchise tag on star wide receiver Allen Robinson on Tuesday. Initial reports of the news came just over two hours before the league’s deadline to tag players.
This was largely expected. The Bears and Robinson seemed far apart on contract negotiations based on public comments, yet Ryan Pace expressed interest in keeping Robinson in Chicago for at least one more year.
“We love Allen Robinson,” Pace said in a press conference earlier this month. “He’s a great player for us. We want to keep our good players. And Allen is a good player for us.”
Pace also made mention of the franchise tag as a tool available to the team several times throughout the offseason.
However, there is doubt as to whether or not Robinson will play under the tag. Last month, ESPN’s Jeff Darlington speculated that Robinson could hold out for a trade or an extension if tagged.
“Last year was very frustrated he didn’t get his contract done, but ultimately had another successful season,” Darlington said on the “KJZ” show last month. “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.”
Recently, other players have forced their way out of town by refusing to play under the tag. Last season, Yannick Ngakoue held out after the Jaguars tagged him, and he was eventually traded to the Vikings. The year before that, Jadeveon Clowney did the same, leading to a trade from the Texans to the Seahawks.
In an interview with Tyler Dunne last month, Robinson said that requesting a trade was “an option” if tagged. Now that he’s tagged, we can only wait to see what Robinson ultimately decides to do.
If he signs the tag, Robinson will earn $18 million, as that is 120% of his $15 million salary from 2020.
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