August 19, 2022

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Allen Robinson’s time with the Chicago Bears is over. However the place will he find yourself after an odd 2021 season?

Allen Robinson’s remaining catch in a Chicago Bears uniform was, very similar to his 2021 season, unremarkable.

Quick hitch path to the correct. Fastball from Andy Dalton. Six-yard achieve, nothing after the catch.

Minnesota Vikings cornerback Cameron Dantzler wrapped his arms round Robinson and slung him towards the boundary, 4 yards wanting a primary down. It was an atypical second in a meaningless recreation, a part of a nine-play field-goal drive within the second half of a dispiriting season-ending loss.

Finish scene. Ho-hum.

Robinson made little influence that afternoon, ending with two catches for 22 yards plus a 2-point conversion seize from Dalton. He accomplished his fourth Bears season with solely 38 catches, 410 yards and one measly landing.

Take out the 2017 season by which Robinson tore his left anterior cruciate ligament within the first quarter of the opener and people startling numbers have been all profession lows.

A lot for the veteran receiver’s alternative to make use of a contract yr to show to the remainder of the NFL he’s an every-week, game-changing pressure. A lot for the opening to roll into free company in 2022 with momentum.

As a substitute? Robinson will watch for his contract with the Bears to run out Wednesday, then concentrate on touchdown a cope with a brand new crew and an incentive to show he nonetheless is a top-tier playmaker with lots left within the tank.

Robinson might not get the type of headline-grabbing, bank-breaking deal he as soon as coveted. However there already are loads of suitors lining up. Control the Cleveland Browns and New England Patriots. The New York Jets, Miami Dolphins and Atlanta Falcons ought to have their feelers outs, too.

Maybe Robinson will probably be pulled by each nostalgia and vengeance to signal with the Detroit Lions, returning to his hometown whereas remaining within the NFC North with an opportunity to face the Bears twice per season.

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This a lot, although, appears possible: Robinson received’t must scramble to discover a marketplace for his companies. And he might grow to be one of many prime prizes of NFL free company, particularly with the best way the receiver market is shaping up.

Inexperienced Bay’s Davante Adams was given the franchise tag final week because the Packers look to carve out a record-setting deal for Aaron Rodgers’ favourite goal. Buccaneers receiver Chris Godwin was additionally tagged — for a second consecutive yr — as Tampa Bay works towards an extension.

And in Los Angeles, Chargers receiver Mike Williams cashed in on a 76-catch, 1,146-yard, nine-touchdown season by agreeing to a brand new three-year, $60 million contract with $40 million assured. That deal actually lit up the radar for Robinson and his camp as they head to the bidding stage of free company with loads of comparisons, each statistically and financially, to throw at groups.

Nonetheless, across the league there’s an unsolved thriller that has produced a heavy quantity of head-scratching.

What brought about Robinson’s manufacturing to cliff in 2022?

Nobody appears to have a definitive verdict.

Solely 38 catches? A yr after recording 102?

Simply 410 yards after averaging 1,050 over his first three seasons with the Bears?

One TD, a routine 11-yard catch from Dalton in opposition to the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 2?

The confusion surrounding Robinson’s huge manufacturing dip stays profound.

For context, he missed 5 video games final season, three with the hamstring pressure he suffered on his longest catch of the season — a 39-yarder from Justin Fields in opposition to the Pittsburgh Steelers on “Monday Night time Soccer” in Week 9 — and two extra due to a grueling bout with COVID-19.

An ankle situation additionally restricted Robinson early within the season. Moreover, the Bears had questionable quarterback stability from coaching camp to the season finale with Dalton dropping his QB1 position to Justin Fields in September then later snagging it again for four-and-a-half video games down the stretch when Fields was both damage or sidelined with COVID-19.

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However that’s not sufficient to completely account for Robinson’s minimal involvement within the Bears offense. Within the dozen video games he performed, he was focused simply 5.5 instances per contest, a 42% dip from the goal quantity he loved with Mitch Trubisky and Nick Foles a season earlier.

On an offense that was in search of a spark, one of many crew’s most confirmed playmakers was an afterthought. Robinson wasn’t given many alternatives to stretch the sphere. With two quarterbacks who have been new to the Bears in 2021, he didn’t have established belief as a go-to weapon and didn’t see almost the variety of alternatives he as soon as needed to make contested catches.

Robinson’s relationship with former common supervisor Ryan Tempo started to worsen in 2020 when his push for a contract extension hit a lifeless finish earlier than the season. Robinson wished to be acknowledged financially as one of many recreation’s greatest receivers. The Bears didn’t fairly see him in the identical mild whereas adjusting considerably to the unsure monetary dynamics associated to the pandemic.

When the 2 sides wound up in a bargaining standoff, Robinson’s frustrations grew as he was pressured to play underneath the franchise tag.

Internally, some inside Halas Corridor puzzled if Robinson’s disappointment turned too sharp and diminished his hearth. Perhaps it was unconscious. Or perhaps Robinson felt an obligation to maintain his future in thoughts always. However to some, the veteran receiver simply didn’t appear to be as full-throttle as he might have been.

The Bears’ 3½ season offensive funk underneath Matt Nagy’s steering actually didn’t spark further power or inspiration. However Robinson was additionally a part of irritating Bears offenses in 2019 and 2020 and nonetheless had about 100 catches and greater than 1,100 yards.

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Final season, as his lack of involvement turned a supply of confusion, Robinson was left to periodically ponder whether his contentious contract talks led to him being frozen out of the offense. However that was a tough idea to completely take into account with Tempo and Nagy combating for his or her jobs and badly needing an offensive breakthrough to assist save them. So why, with one of many league’s worst offenses, would they reduce the involvement of one of many crew’s most established playmakers as a self-sabotaging reprimand?

No matter occurred final season, it modified Robinson’s imaginative and prescient for his future. As soon as pushed to grow to be the all-time main receiver of one in all league’s constitution franchises and desirous to re-establish a championship custom in Chicago, Robinson is now wanting elsewhere for a brand new residence. His time at Halas Corridor has merely run its course.

Even with a regime change — Tempo and Nagy changed by Ryan Poles and Matt Eberflus — the considered a reset in Lake Forest has little attraction. And in some league circles, there’s a hope that Robinson lands with a crew with a confirmed and established beginning quarterback. Simply to essentially take a look at out how good Robinson nonetheless is.

The thought of Robinson bouncing again in 2022 for 100-plus catches and 1,200-plus yards is practical, notably to receiver-needy groups. Robinson simply desires to show the web page and begin anew. That want will probably be granted this week.

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