- Coming off an ACL tear, Robinson landed a solid deal in Chicago. But look closely, and you can see that both parties are taking a risk.
The wide receiver market is back. According to NFL Network, Allen Robinson landed a three-year deal with the Bears worth about $14 million per season, which puts him in the Demaryius Thomas/Dez Bryant/Davante Adams neighborhood—a nice place to be for someone who is coming off a torn ACL.
The big bet here for Chicago is on potential. Robinson, a former second-round pick out of Penn State, was part of the face of Jacksonville’s turnaround. One of the first homegrown stars developed by the Dave Caldwell regime, he broke out along with Blake Bortles in 2015 with an 80-catch, 1,400 yard, 14-touchdown season that put him firmly on the radar. The Bears had to come in quickly and over the top to secure a No. 1-type receiver in this market.
I thought our Andy Benoit nailed it in his NFL free agency guide and tracker when he noted that Allen’s greatest strength is down the field and toward the sideline. It’s a place where the best wide receivers win the ball, and Benoit noted that some NFL team would risk a large sum of money to find out if he could do that even after a devastating knee injury.
That happened on Tuesday, with two parties actually taking significant risks. Robinson will be in Chicago for at least two years depending on how much of the reported “guarantees” are actually guaranteed. That means in the same way that Chicago is betting on him, he is betting on a new offensive coaching staff led by Andy Reid disciple Matt Nagy and second-year quarterback Mitchell Trubisky. Of the three first-round picks taken at quarterback in 2017, Trubisky—on paper—may be the least exciting destination for a free agent wide receiver looking to bolster his value and hit on one more major contract. Over 12 starts last year, Trubisky threw for 2,193 yards (182.8 per game) with seven touchdowns, seven interceptions and a 77.5 passer rating.
All parties involved are hoping that a cleaned house and a fresh perspective offensively mitigates some of the inevitable concerns Robinson would have in Chicago.