Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports
Early Tuesday morning, the Bears and wide receiver Allen Robinson agreed to a three-year, $42MM deal, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). Robinson was arguably this year’s top available wide receiver, edging Sammy Watkins.
Robinson had spent his entire career with the Jaguars until today. After a breakout 2015 campaign that saw him haul in 80 catches for 1,400 yards and 14 touchdowns, Robinson took a step back in 2016 with “only” 73 catches for 883 yards and six scores. Then, he tore his ACL during his team’s Week 1 contest against the Texans last season. Robinson believes he’ll be back at full strength this year and if that’s the case, he’ll be terrorizing the NFC North.
Despite suffering a serious knee injury, Robinson was still able to garner $14MM annually, a figure which will place him inside the top-10 among wide receiver contracts. While it remains to be seen how Robinson’s new deal is structured — it’s possible the Bears can escape the pact after a year, depending on how bonuses are allocated — the 24-year-old was able to cash in even with a injury on his ledger.
Chicago, for its part, was in desperate need of wide receiver additions. Both Dontrelle Inman and Kendall Wright are unrestricted free agents, while Cameron Meredith and Josh Bellamy are restricted free agents. The Bears used original round tenders on both Meredith and Bellamy, meaning other clubs can potentially poach them without compensation heading to Chicago. Meanwhile, former first-round pick Kevin White has struggled to stay healthy during his NFL tenure and is currently recovering from injury.
The Jaguars reportedly considered deploying the franchise tag on Robinson, which would have parked him in Jacksonville at a one-year cost of roughly $16MM. Instead, the Jags let Robinson hit the open market, and now boast a wide receiver corps topped by Allen Hurns (who is a candidate for release), Keelan Cole, and Dede Westbrook. Fellow pass-catcher Marqise Lee is also an unrestricted free agent.