There may be no more underrated elite wide receiver in the NFL than Chicago Bears WR Allen Robinson. Robinson continues to put up incredible numbers despite a lack of quarterback talent. With a trip to free agency on the horizon in 2021, Allen Robinson is likely to suit up for his third team next season.
Allen Robinson is on the short list of best WRs in the game
There is a short list of players who I will climb to the top of a water tower to defend their honor. Carolina Panthers WR D.J. Moore, Indianapolis Colts RB Jonathan Taylor, and Chicago Bears WR Allen Robinson make up that list.
Robinson is consistently left out of the “elite” range of wide receivers, and through no fault of his own other than where he has played. I talked about this in the offseason, and the story continues with Allen Robinson not getting the respect he deserves. Let’s just look at 2019 for an example.
Robinson played 97% of the snaps in 2019 and ranked fourth overall in targets with 153 balls thrown in his direction. He also had an absurd 27% target share for Chicago. Robinson also led the league in contested catch rate and red zone catch percentage. One of the beauties of his game is that he has won before the ball even arrives, thanks to his incredible route running.
According to Matt Harmon’s Reception Perception, which charts WR success rates, Robinson had a 79.3% success rate against man coverage (98th percentile) and an absurd 83.7% against press coverage (97th percentile). Both of these scores are in the top 10 in the history of reception perception history.
Robinson dominated once again in 2020
Let’s now look at 2020. Surely, this has to be a fluke? He finished sixth in receptions with 102. Robinson saw the third-highest number of targets at 151, which accounted for 25% of the Bears’ total and was 40.5% of the WRs group total targets. He was ninth in yards with 1,250 and scored six touchdowns. His 102 receptions marked him as just one of six wide receivers to surpass 100 receptions.
All of this came with Nick Foles and Mitch Trubisky coming in 20th and 22nd, respectively, on target throws at 76.3% and 75.8%.
Allen Robinson has a history of excellence as he heads into free agency in 2021
Since his 2015 sophomore campaign, Robinson has averaged 68 receptions on 117 targets for 908 yards and six touchdowns if you look at his yearly average. That is including a 2017 campaign where he didn’t complete a game due to tearing his ACL in Week 1.
Take that out, and Allen Robinson averages 140.2 targets, 81.6 receptions, 1,086 yards, and 7.4 touchdowns. He has done all of that while catching passes from Blake Bortles, Chad Henne, Mitch Trubisky, and Nick Foles.
And amazingly, despite all of this production, the Bears extended RB Tarik Cohen, not Robinson. I’m not here to say Cohen doesn’t deserve it. I’ll never get between a man and his meal, but you’d think there would be a pecking order here.
In choosing to go this path, relations came to a boiling point between Allen Robinson and the organization. It reached a point where fellow Bears players started the “#ExtendARob campaign.”
Is it too much for them to work out a deal and keep Allen Robinson for 2021?
Where will Allen Robinson be looking to sign during the 2021 free agency period?
While I might only list a handful, quite frankly, 31 teams need to take a deep look to see if it is possible to sign Allen Robinson in free agency. He makes every team better.
You can safely cross off the Chicago Bears from the list
I don’t see it happening between the feelings of Allen Robinson and the team. Especially considering the Bears are projected to be $89,572 over the cap. Sure they could find wiggle room to free up a few million, but Robinson is looking in the range north of $18 million per year.
He deserves it, and the Bears don’t have it. Even if they did, I don’t think they would re-sign him anyway. It makes you wonder why they didn’t attempt to move him in a potential sign and trade scenario and at least get something back in return.
Robbinson wrapped up a three-year, $42 million contract with Chicago and won’t be signing on the dotted line for them again.
The Indianapolis Colts could try to sign Allen Robinson in free agency
They have the cap space, without a doubt. The Colts have the fourth-most projected cap to work with at $62.31 million in 2021.
Also, Indianapolis needs wide receiver depth. T.Y. Hilton is aging and also going to be a free agent. From there, it is 2019 draft pick Parris Campbell who missed all of 2020 with a knee injury, and Michael Pittman Jr. Yes, they love Pittman, but he isn’t a number one option. He is a Vincent Jackson or a big body in the red zone-style player. Allen Robinson, though, is as elite as they come.
The Colts need a quarterback of the future and an alpha wide receiver to help them. Bringing on Allen Robinson in free agency would be a perfect fit for 2021 and beyond.
New England needs all the help they can get
Julian Edelman is old (34) and is getting banged up. Their top WR was a UDFA from NC State in Jakobi Meyers. Allen Robinson on this team could see 160 targets. The offense was awful last year, and the Cam Newton experiment failed.
They would have to decide how far away they feel as a team they are from competing. If you are more than two years away, then spending $20 million per year on Robinson might not be the best choice. If Bill Belichick thinks they are a QB away, then using the 15th overall pick on someone like Trey Lance could be a home run scenario with Robinson. Cap space is no issue either, with $59.89 million in projections.
What about the bright light of New York?
And by New York, I don’t mean the Jets. I mean the New York Giants taking a swing for Allen Robinson in free agency for 2021.
The Giants have an out on Golden Tate. Sterling Shepard hasn’t had over 873 yards in his career. And Darius Slayton’s production tailed off after his rookie season. To take advantage of Robinson, the Giants would hope Jason Garrett moves on as they were far too conservative. Robinson has succeeded with poor QB play before. If there is any hope for Daniel Jones’ future, Allen Robinson could pull it off.
They would have to get a bit creative with the cap, but it could be done.