Allen Robinson normally gets hands on the ball, but now the ball is in the hands of the Chicago Bears.
Robinson is stepping back to weigh the options ahead with free agency beckoning, but he's still willing to listen to the Bears. And don't even mention the franchise tag to him.
"Again, I think everybody knows a little bit on how I feel about that, but I'm not going to really get into that right now," Robinson said Monday of being franchised, as the Bears cleaned out their lockers.
The veteran wide receiver can be retained by the Bears with a franchise tag just before the start of free agency, and they can keep negotiating with him. This is never the choice of players.
In Robinson's case, a tag would mean bout $18 million next year in lieu of a new contract. The currently scheduled dates for applying tags is Feb. 23 through March 9.
Pressed further to comment on the tag, he said: "Um, I plead the fifth on that."
However, it's also obvious Robinson wants to return to the Bears after becoming a vital part of the organization.
"I mean, right now everything is pretty much on the table," Robinson said. "Again, over the past three years, since I stepped foot in Chicago, I've said that I've created a great respect for the organization, for the McCaskey family. Definitely thankful for them and for the facility that we have and the things they provide us to come to work with every day—from the facilities, to the kitchen and everything like that. Even creating relationships with the Payton family. So I've created a lot of relationships and everything like that here, but right now, everything is on the table."
If it sounds like Robinson wants to bend over backwards for the Bears, then guess again
"I personally feel like we had an opportunity to get something done over the past 365 days," Robinson said. "But again, I don't know that that really affects me too much as far as however things play out."
For certain they had the chance all offseason and on up into about the first few weeks of the regular season. Then they reached a stalemate and since then there hasn't been an attempt at a deal because the salary cap in relation to COVID-19 and league-wide revenues became more clear.
There won't be as much money available to sign free agents from the same team and other teams, so Robinson's status in Chicago will be uncertain heading toward March 15 and the start of the legal period for talking to other teams' free agents.
When Robinson came to the Bears and accepted a contract paying an average of around $14 million, he was coming off an ACL tear and this limited his marketplace. So naturally his curiosity is how much he'll command in the open market coming off of a 102-catch, 1,250-yard season.
"The biggest thing is, at this point in time, three years ago my career, I was coming off injury, so it was a lot more weight on me and a lot more going through my mind and things like that," Robinson said. "Now, being able to finish this season healthy and stepping into whatever the next chapter is healthy, I think that's the biggest thing and most exciting thing for me.
"I'm able to kind of hit this thing now, not coming off of injury, not trying to get back to 100 percent, but just trying to fine-tune my game and get better. So I thought I had a decent year this year."
Also to consider for Robinson is the quarterback situation where he winds up playing. Does he really want to spend the final prime years of his NFL career in this offense with an unsettled quarterback situation? No one knows if Mitchell Trubisky will be back, but if he is why would Robinson want this when there are bound to be several teams with money and better passers pursuing him?
"Just on the simple fact that when I came to Chicago, I know there was a ton of people who thought I wasn't making the best decision for my career then," Robinson said. "At the same time, I knew with coach (Matt) Nagy, with the team that we had and everything like that, that I was doing what was best for my career.
"Coming down to the end of my contract, now it's looking at, OK, how do I perceive the next however many years of my career? Again, that's what it comes down to. Like I said before, we've won a lot of games over the past three years—more games than a lot of teams have won in the league over the last three years. Again, I mean, it's just a ton of factors that kind of affect (the decision). I wouldn’t say that one or the other outweighs any one."