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Allen Robinson, Bears, NFL Free Agency

3 teams that need to break the bank for star Bears receiver Allen Robinson in NFL free agency

Chicago Bears wide receiver Allen Robinson produced another stellar season in 2020, logging a career-high 1,250 receiving yards. An unrestricted talented heading into NFL Free Agency, Robinson will likely be finding a new home after contract negotiations stalled with the Bears throughout the year.

The former 2014 second-round pick, Robinson enters free agency for the second time in his career. After spending the first four years of his career with the Jacksonville Jaguars, he signed a three-year, $42 million contract with the Bears back in 2018.

Robinson has accumulated consecutive 1,100-yard receiving seasons. Yet, the Bears’ front office does not appear to view the wideout as a top priority. On the contrast, Bears players tried to make a statement earlier this season on social media by tweeting #ExtendArob to demonstrate why the team must retain Robinson. Bears receiver Anthony Miller tweeted out the hashtag, which was later retweeted and favorited by star EDGE rusher Khalil Mack.

Alas, the Bears never handed a long-term contract to Robinson, who turns 28 in August. With the wide receiver almost certainly leaving the Windy City, which three teams could step in and sign Robinson to a lucrative deal?

1. Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins finished 10-6 in 2020, falling just shy of reaching the postseason. Despite a strong campaign, the Dolphins struggled to move the ball through the passing attack. Devante Parker led the team in receiving, despite failing to crack the 800-yard mark, while Mike Geisicki led the team in TD receptions with just six. Parker and Geisicki are the only reliable pass-catchers on the roster.

Miami needs to give young quarterback Tua Tagovailoa more weapons. Robinson could be the perfect fit for Tagovailoa as he enters his second season under center. Robinson turned 151 targets into 102 receptions this past season, dropping just one pass.

With the 10th-most cap space among NFL teams entering the offseason, Miami has the resources to nab Robinson in free agency. It will take likely a three or four-year deal to land Allen Robinson, but the Dolphins will be more than willing to oblige.

2. Indianapolis Colts

T.Y. Hilton has spent his entire nine-year career with the Indianapolis Colts. An impending free agent, Hilton said in December that he hasn’t had any new contract talks with the club.

Quiet for most of the season, the 31-year-old had a late-year surge—catching five TD receptions over the final six weeks of the 2020 season. Even so, the four-time Pro Bowler is unquestionably on the decline—he had just one 100-yard receiving game all year—and his days in Indianapolis appear numbered.

The Colts need to augment their downfield passing game, which featured too many dump-offs to running backs and tight ends from quarterback Philip Rivers. Regardless of whether Rivers is under center in 2021, the Colts must find some way to push the ball downfield and a receiver of Robinson’s talent could ease that process. He is a highlight reel waiting to happen:

Allen Robinson ranked fourth across the NFL in big-play receptions (20+ yard receiving plays) with 22. Travis Kelce, Calvin Ridley and Justin Jefferson—all of whom had 23 big-play receptions apiece—were the only players to register more.

Robinson achieved these figures despite subpar quarterbacking from Mitchell Trubisky and Nick Foles. A big play waiting to happen, Robinson can give the Colts—already an effective offense because of their dominance on the ground—another way to attack defenses.

The Colts are flushed with the 3rd-most cap space and should use some of that cash on Robinson.

3. New England Patriots

The New England Patriots have struck out in recent drafts when selecting wide receivers. Since drafting franchise legend Julian Edelman in the seventh round of the 2009 NFL Draft, they have selected the following wideouts: Taylor Price, Jeremy Ebert, Jeremy Gallon, Josh Boyce, Aaron Dobson, Devin Lucien, Malcolm Mitchell, and most recently—N’Keal Harry.

Harry, a first-round pick in 2019, has struggled in his first two pro years and is already being labeled a major bust.

Failing to improve the receiver position via the draft, could the Patriots look towards free agency to improve a key position of need? The Patriots have never broken the bank on a free agent wideout of Robinson’s caliber (outside of Antonio Brown’s one-year, $15 million deal that lasted one game) in the Bill Belichick era.  However, the team’s dire need for a dominant pass-catcher could change the club’s usual approach.

The Patriots ranked 30th in passing offense in part due to the struggles of QB Cam Newton—who is not expected to return for a second season in New England—and because of a lack of talented receivers. Robinson would give the Patriots a jolt in their stagnant passing offense.

Belichick recognizes that Robinson has never been a speed burner receiver, so a decline in quickness as he ages will likely not impact his production significantly.

With the fourth-most cap space, the Patriots certainly have the funds to add Allen Robinson.