“Yeah, I would say so,” Robinson said on Zoom call with Chicago media, when asked if he anticipates being with the Bears for the rest of 2020. “… I’ve talked to [general manager] Ryan [Pace], I’ve talked to Coach [Matt] Nagy. As far as everything else, we’re in the clear with that.”
Robinson continued: “I’m not going get into that [trade] detail, but like I said before, my heart and spirit has never wavered, as far as the city of Chicago and playing for this organization. Obviously, you dive into the business of the game, and there’s different variables that go into that. But how I feel about my teammates, how I feel about this team, how I feel about this city and everything like that has never wavered. When you’re in this business and in a situation like this, things come up.”
Sources told ESPN’s Dan Graziano on Tuesday that Robinson informed the Bears that he would rather be traded if the two sides cannot reach an agreement on an extension. The Chicago Tribune also reported Tuesday that Robinson, who is in the final year of his contract, has requested a trade.
Robinson’s agent, Brandon Parker, denied that report, telling ESPN’s Adam Schefter that neither he nor Robinson requested a trade, but Parker acknowledged that Robinson was upset the Bears would not pay him market value.
Nagy said Wednesday that he had a private conversation with Robinson about the contract stalemate.
“You know how we roll here, we talk about things, and so I had a great conversation with Allen, just excited about where we’re at,” Nagy said on a Zoom call. “He’s a leader, he’s a very important part of our team. As far as the [contract] part of it, that’s not my world. … But I think that our players all realize the history that we have here in regards to taking care of guys.
“And I think it was a really, really good talk that Allen and I had. I think when you have situations like this, it’s only fair that both be able to talk. So hopefully, you know, I think he definitely feels good, and he’s confident that we want him to be here and that he wants to be here. So that’s really the ultimate goal in all of this.”
Robinson, 27, will make $13 million in 2020. He recently removed references to the Bears from his social media accounts, but several of Robinson’s teammates posted messages on Twitter calling for the team to extend the popular wide receiver.
“We always support each other 100 percent, all the way, so we’re always behind our teammates,” Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky said on a Zoom call. “But I think it’s really simple for us. It may seem like a distraction online or on Twitter or whatever it is, but we don’t see that in the locker room. We don’t see that on field.
“Especially with Allen and a lot of the guys we have on offense, you never got to worry about that type of thing because we’re attacking practice, and everything’s a team-first mentality. Because I know these guys in that locker room, so the way he has handled himself and the rest of the guys on offense, it’s professional. They’re trying to get better. I think all that other stuff will take care of itself.”
Robinson caught five passes for 74 yards on nine targets in Week 1. Last season, Robinson led the Bears with 98 receptions for 1,147 yards and seven touchdowns, despite playing on one of the league’s worst offenses. Robinson spent four years in Jacksonville (2014 to 2017), where he earned an invitation to the Pro Bowl after catching 80 passes for 1,400 yards and 14 touchdowns in 2015.
Robinson suffered a season-ending knee injury in Week 1 of 2017, his final year in Jacksonville, and was not fully healthy for the Bears in 2018. Even so, he recorded 55 receptions for 754 yards and four touchdowns in 13 games played.
“When we work on these deals, we know how important A-Rob is to us, not just as a player but as a teammate,” Pace said on Sept. 7.
Furthering Robinson’s frustration has been the rash of contract extensions awarded to wide receivers over the past month, including to the Arizona Cardinals‘ DeAndre Hopkins, the Los Angeles Chargers‘ Keenan Allen and the Los Angeles Rams‘ Cooper Kupp.
Hopkins’ new deal is worth the most in terms of average salary ($27.25 million) among NFL receivers. Atlanta’s Julio Jones ($22 million), Allen ($20.025 million) and Dallas’ Amari Cooper ($20 million) all have agreements that will average at least $20 million over the life of their deals.
Robinson’s expiring three-year contract with Chicago averages $14 million per season, 15th in the league for wide receivers.