Bears' Allen Robinson: Signing franchise tag 'was best at the time'

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Adam Hoge
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A-Rob says signing franchise tag 'was best at the time' originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

After voicing his displeasure with the franchise tag earlier this winter, Allen Robinson surprised many when he suddenly signed that tag March 18, essentially locking himself into a one-year, $18 million contract with the Bears in 2021 should the two sides fail to reach a long-term extension by July 15.

“Not much went into it, not too much thought,” Robinson said Tuesday. “I mean, my team, we just played out what was best at the time.”

At the time, the free agent market for wide receivers was extremely cold and the Bears were flirting with free agent Kenny Golladay, who came to Halas Hall for a visit. Without signing the franchise tag, the Bears could have revoked it at any time. Instead, Robinson signed it, locking in $18 million for 2021, which appeared to be above the market value in mid-March. Two days later, Golladay signed a four-year, $72 million contract with the New York Giants that averages $18 million per year. 

“Fortunately, from my position, contract or no contract, I’m in position to do things that no Bears receiver has done throughout the history of the Chicago Bears,” Robinson said. “Being one of the first franchises and being around for a long time there are certain things out there to be had. And for that I’m very excited.”

Robinson needs 102 catches in 2021 to rank No. 1 in receptions among wide receivers in Bears history. He would only trail Walter Payton and Matt Forte, both running backs, in all-time receptions with the Bears.

Tuesday, Robinson joined fellow receiver Darnell Mooney as winners of the team’s Brian Piccolo Award, given each year to a veteran and a rookie who represent the courage, loyalty, teamwork, dedication and send of humor that Piccolo was known for.

Robinson would not say if he anticipates playing on the franchise tag this season, but he certainly sounded committed to the team for at least 2021.

“I'm in a good place. At this point in time, there's some very big accomplishments that can be had this season that have never been done before for the Chicago Bears,” Robinson said. “Also being able to and wanting to get back to the playoffs and things like that, so, I mean, it's going to be an exciting year.”

That said, Robinson refused to answer a question about whether or not he has been participating in Phase One of the offseason program, which began last week. Phase One consists of virtual meetings and the opportunity to use the Halas Hall weight room and training facilities. It is common for players who are franchise tagged to skip the voluntary portion of the offseason, but now that Robinson has signed his tag, he can be fined if he misses the mandatory veteran minicamp in June.

“I’m not really going to get into that. My approach to the season for myself and for what I want to get accomplish as a player never changed,” Robinson said. “I found a great routine from the time the season ended until the first game, Week 1, and that has never changed.”

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