When the Chicago Bears used their 2021 franchise tag on wide receiver Allen Robinson, the move didn't necessarily necessitate the veteran's return as much as a contentious offseason, what with the two sides failing for months to strike a long-term extension. ESPN's report Thursday that Robinson was in "no rush" to sign the one-year tag seemed to solidify that. Except now, hours later, according to NFL Network, the wideout has done just that, embracing a 2021 return in the wake of the team reportedly hosting fellow receiver Kenny Golladay on a free agent visit.
Golladay, the former Lions Pro Bowler and arguably the top wideout left on the open market, was not expected to draw interest from the Bears, who are reportedly up against the Bengals and Giants, among others, to land the pass catcher. After he paid Chicago a visit, ProFootballTalk reported that Robinson had "suddenly ... adjusted his position regarding the franchise tag" and "(pivoted) from not wanting to sign to seriously considering it."
It's possible Robinson was intrigued by the idea of playing opposite Golladay, but Florio speculated he simply realized the $17.9 million tag was his best opportunity at elite earnings in 2021.
Although it's unlikely, for example, it's possible the Bears could've opted to sign Golladay and rescind the tag, leaving Robinson to find another deal in a market that's proven quieter than expected for the top pass catchers thus far. Now that Robinson has signed the tag, meanwhile, he has guaranteed himself the $17.9 million for 2021 and will get another chance at hitting free agency in 2022.
Either way, the Bears don't appear any closer to actually extending Robinson, who might've garnered the biggest deal of any free agent wideout had he actually been unsigned.