If the social media is any correct indication, Allen Robinson was always going to join the Bears. The former Jaguars receiver had posted a photo online wearing a Chicago Cubs jersey in February and many had connected the dots based on the chosen attire of a new NFL destination without other basis. That's not the case any longer, as that Cubs' jersey for Robinson can be swapped out for something suitable in navy and orange soon.
Barring an unprecedented last minute change, the Bears' prayers for a true No. 1 receiver have been answered. They will officially sign Robinson to a three-year deal worth $42 million once free agency opens on Wednesday, reports ESPN's Adam Schefter and Josina Anderson. The contract gives Robinson $25 million guaranteed according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.
Robinson, 24, was not franchise tagged by his former team in the Jacksonville Jaguars by the March 6th deadline. Once that happened, Chicago's center of receiving attention was completely diverted towards landing Robinson as the team's No. 1 target this free agency. With the undoubted help of former Penn State teammate Adrian Amos and running backs coach Charles London in recruiting, general manager Ryan Pace - who had talked about fixing the receiving position at this year's Scouting Combine - then made his organization's priority downfield talent dream realized.
Robinson didn't mince words about the Bears' fit for a long term investment for him while doing a radio hit on Monday.
“They have some of the things Chicago has when it comes to a quarterback, an offensive-minded head coach, a football city and tradition,” Robinson told host Adam Schein on SiriusXM's MadDog Radio. “There are so many good situations out there. I just have to narrow it down and pick the best one.”
That best situation became the Bears, as Pace and company have finally landed their big fish. One of the top overall free agents available, credit is due for adding Robinson to help that mentioned quarterback in Mitchell Trubisky and offensive-minded head coach in the innovative Matt Nagy. Credit is due to a dedicated recruiting process that dramatically changes the dynamic of Chicago's franchise and helps put the Bears back on the map.
The primary reason as to why Robinson hit the open market is an ACL tear suffered in Week 1 of the 2017 season. That robbed the young playmaker of any future earning potential with Jacksonville and set the table for his departure. Luckily enough for the Bears' sake, Robinson is two years removed from a spectacular 80 reception, 1,400 yard, 14 touchdown season in 2015.
If Chicago's medical clearances on a solid and full recovery are golden, they have struck gold in Robinson as opposition won't be able to consistently account for his presence. A ripple effect that will take place across the Bears' entire offense, making everyone better.
Questions moving forward will partly circle around a drop in production in 2016 where Robinson and most of the Jaguars' passing offense struggled. Any manner of consistency, learning how to adjust as a No. 1 target, and team support can be used as answers.
To that end, it's on the Bears and their new mega bucks No. 1 receiver to prove the critics wrong and showcase that previous dominance over defensive backs in the passing game. To show that stellar performance wasn't a fluke. Robinson is fully up to the task as a polished and explosive route runner that can win in any matter of ways against coverage. It'll be on the 6-foot-3, 211 pounder to prove that the Jaguars made a mistake in letting him leave. A task that he's certainly prepared, motivated, and eager to undertake.
The Bears have talked all off-season about acquiring weapons for their face of the franchise in second-year quarterback. Robinson, the top available option in free agency, fits that bill. Somewhere, Trubisky has to be grinning from ear to ear at the prospect of what magic these two can create together in a consistent offensive connection. Somewhere, opposing defensive coordinators just scrapped an entire segment of their play-books in preparation. And somewhere, it's understood that the Bears are likely not done loading up with offensive weapons.
The Bears were aggressive, put on a full court press with a marquee free agent in Robinson, and were rewarded as such. A top team need at receiver has become a strength. A strength that Pace, Nagy, and Trubisky can unleash upon the NFL.
Robert Zeglinski is the Bears beat writer for The Rock River Times, an editor for Windy City Gridiron and Inside The Pylon, and a contributor to Pro Football Weekly and The Athletic Chicago. You can follow him on Twitter @RobertZeglinski.