By drafting Justin Fields the Bears not only changed the direction of the franchise — possibly saving the jobs of everyone from the team president to the coaching staff — the selection also reshaped the direction the team should go with star wide receiver Allen Robinson.
Paying Robinson big money without knowing the long-term answer at quarterback would’ve been questionable. Fields is that answer, and the Bears have until next week to lock Robinson down and make sure Fields knows who his primary target is going to be.
There is little question that Robinson wants to be among the top-five paid players at his position. The price tag will rise if Davante Adams re-signs with the Green Bay Packers before the start of the season. The Bears have until July 15 to negotiate a contract with Robinson or settle on the fact that they’ll almost certainly lose him in 2022.
Robinson and the Bears have something in common in that we don’t know what either are with an actual quarterback.
Per Tyler Dunne, the drafting of Fields didn’t change Robinson’s price or make him more likely to sign a long-term deal with the Bears. It’s unlikely that catching a few passes in a minicamp changed that either. The simple truth is that re-signing Robinson will come down to the exact same thing signing him in the first place did: money.
Without an answer at quarterback, it could be argued that investing a large amount of money in a wide receiver would be a waste. We’ve seen what the Bears offense was with Robinson and they really couldn’t have been much worse without him.
With a quarterback, however, Robinson’s value to the franchise should skyrocket. That’s especially true because said quarterback is a rookie who would benefit from Robinson’s savvy and ability to come down with great catches.
Part of Robinson’s argument for being a top-five receiver — if you listen to what he told Dunne, anyway — is that he has produced despite not having a decent quarterback. With a combination of Blake Bortles, Mitch Trubisky, Chase Daniel and Nick Foles, Robinson isn’t wrong.
By drafting Fields the Bears could get to experience Robinson’s true ceiling. If 100-catches and 1,200 yards is his floor, how much better can he be? And, for Fields, it gives him a safety net receiver who can typically be counted on to beat man coverage or draw extra attention from the defense, thus making his coverage reads easier.
Everything the Bears do for the next few seasons has to be about getting the most out of Fields and helping him reach his potential. It’s hard to see how letting Robinson go would help them accomplish that.