Chicago Bears wide receiver Allen Robinson is "loosely anticipating" getting the franchise tag this offseason, according to ESPN's Jeremy Fowler, though the Bears reportedly "have not informed him of that yet."
Per Fowler, the Bears would like to keep Robinson but the veteran wideout "would love" to be a free agent and negotiations "sort of went south early in the 2020 season":
Robinson hasn't hidden the fact that he doesn't want to be franchise tagged, calling it the "bottom of my list of choices" while talking with NBC Sports' Chris Collinsworth on his podcast earlier in the week (h/t Alex Shapiro of NBC Sports:
"When you talk about a one-year deal, or whatever the case might be, something that you're kind of forced into—as a player, when you're coming off of 3,000 yards in three seasons, you help take a team to the playoffs two out of three years, you do feel deserving of the long-term, no matter where that will be. I think that's kind of what makes the franchise tag so tough. It's not the fact that I think I could get a long-term deal with probably 31 other teams, you know? ... As a player, that should all be up to your discretion."
While the franchise tag would pay Robinson in the range of $16-17 million next season, the lack of long-term security is a concern for players. A major injury in the 2021 season could hinder Robinson come free agency next spring, reducing his earning potential.
If the Bears don't use the franchise tag, Robinson should have a vibrant market. He was excellent in 2020, posting 102 receptions 1,250 yards and six scores, his second straight season with at least 95 catches, 1,100 receiving yards and six touchdowns.
He's arguably the top wideout in a deep class of free agent receivers that includes Chris Godwin, Kenny Golladay, Will Fuller IV and JuJu Smith-Schuster, among others.
But if Robinson can't reach a long-term extension with the Bears, the franchise tag seems likely.
"We love Allen Robinson. He's a great player for us," general manager Ryan Pace told reporters Tuesday. "We want to keep our good players. And Allen is a good player for us."