Allen Robinson has been the epitome of professionalism throughout this year's lack of contract negotiations and franchise tag, after a brief emotional outburst last year.
He'll apparently accept his fate and move on, whether it leads to leaving Chicago or the less likely possibility they give him a new contract next year. At least it's less likely based on the fact very few receivers have stayed with their team the year following their tag.
The more pressing matter for the Bears than the tag of the future or contract of the future is whether Robinson will allow disgust over the situation to affect his game.
Considering how he hasn't so far, this would seem unlikely.
"He's been an absolute pro and I think that he understands that in sports in general he's not the only one who goes through these types of situations," Bears coach Matt Nagy said after Robinson attended mandatory minicamp.
Based on what has happened to other receivers, chances appear good he'll be able to handle getting through another year with this cloud hanging over his head.
Since the CBA changed the rules about the franchise tag in 2011, there have been only five other receivers who got tagged and played under it without a new deal and most either hit similar production numbers or decreased slightly. In some of the cases, injuries had an impact on their production and nothing could be ascertained about how they were affected.
One receiver who played on the tag was Vincent Jackson of the Chargers and his 2011 production of 60 catches for 1,106 yards and nine TDs was right in line with what he had done in 2009 (68 catches, 1,167 yards, 9 TDs). In 2010 he had been hurt 11 games and so his stats aren't relevant then.
Patriots receiver Wes Welker was tagged in 2012 and his numbers declined slightly. He had 118 catches for 1,354 yards and six TDs after his tag, and 122 catches for 1,569 yards and nine TDs the season before the tag.
Kansas City's Dwayne Bowe declined slightly during the tag year. He had 59 catches for 801 yards and three TDs but missed three games. The previous season he'd made 81 catches for 1,159 yards and five TDs for an entire 16 games.
Cincinnati's A.J. Green played on a tag last year and had the worst numbers of his career at 47 catches for 523 yards with two TDs, but had missed the entire 2019 season due to injury and missed seven games the previous season.
The only other receiver who got tagged and played on it was a good comparison for Robinson. It was former Bears receiver Alshon Jeffery.
He left for Philadelphia after playing under the tag in 2016 and catching 52 passes for 821 yards and two TDs. He missed three games that season, but he had similar numbers for far fewer games in 2015 because injuries cost him seven games then. He made 54 receptions for 807 yards and four TDs in that shortened season.
So there is no real conclusion to draw from past tagged receivers regarding how it can affect Robinson. It's largely a case-by-case basis and Robinson's team attitude will provide an avenue to get beyond the 2021 season.
Robinson had his Bears highs of 102 catches and 1,250 yards last year. Whether fantasy owners can expect even better numbers is uncertain but he was also working out of this contract shadow last year. And he did better than in 2019 when he hit 98 catches and 1,147 yards.
"He's just a really good person who cares a lot about winning and we appreciate that," Nagy said.
The organization just didn't appreciate this enough to come closer to Robinson's contract demands.