Latest report on Allen Robinson's Bears contract may catch Patriots' eye

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Darren Hartwell
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Latest Allen Robinson report may catch Patriots' eye originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

There's still a very real possibility of Allen Robinson hitting the open market, it appears.

The veteran wide receiver will become a free agent on March 17 if he and the Chicago Bears don't agree to a contract extension before then. According to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero, there's been no progress on that front: Robinson and the Bears haven't discussed a long-term deal since last September, Pelissero reported Tuesday.

Robinson is an intriguing option for the New England Patriots, who are desperately thin at wide receiver and enter the offseason with roughly $60 million in cap space. Robinson posted a career-high 102 receptions for 1,250 yards and six touchdowns last season with Nick Foles and Mitchell Trubisky as his quarterbacks and easily would be the No. 1 wideout on New England's depth chart.

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But will Robinson make it to free agency? Pelissero noted another potential outcome for the 27-year-old wideout: The Bears could use their franchise tag on Robinson to either keep him in Chicago for 2021 or set up a "tag and trade" scenario in which they deal him elsewhere.

The franchise tag for wide receivers in 2021 is projected at $16.4 million, which would be a raise for Robinson after his $15 million cap hit in 2020. That would also be a hefty contract for the Patriots, who haven't paid a wide receiver more than $10 million since Randy Moss in 2008.

New England has the resources to add a top-end talent like Robinson, however, although the team also needs a starting quarterback and may prioritize the QB search before addressing its pass-catching deficiencies.

We should have more clarity on Robinson's situation soon: The franchise tag window opens Feb. 23 and closes March 9.