What's The Deal With Allen Robinson's Injury?

Photo: Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

The curious case of Chicago Bears wide receiver Allen Robinson has become even more confusing over the last few weeks while the star pass-catcher continues to miss practices and games with a hamstring injury. Yes, players get hurt, but Robinson has been something of an ironman over the last two years in Chicago, appearing in all 32 games. So, it’s fair to wonder what’s going on with him, considering unrestricted free agency is coming at season’s end.

Robinson is playing the 2021 season on the franchise tag and he's being paid like one of the elite players at his position this year. Unfortunately for him and the Bears, his play on the field has been anything but. Robinson’s appeared in nine games this season and has just 30 catches for 339 yards and one touchdown. By contrast, Darnell Mooney—who’s supposed to be the Robin to Robinson’s Batman—has 694 yards and three scores. It’s become evident that Robinson is no longer the No. 1 receiver in Chicago’s passing game.

The bad news for Robinson is that his $18 million paycheck from the Bears this year is probably more than he’ll receive on an annual basis once he tests free agency. Denver Broncos wide receiver Courtland Sutton may have reset the current market with the $15.2 million average yearly salary he’s receiving after signing a monster contract extension on November 22.

Aside from his major statistical regression, Robinson’s unavailability is also raising eyebrows. While it’s all conjecture at this point, it’s worth asking if Robinson has packed it in with the Bears’ playoff chances being so far-fetched. And let’s say that’s the case, can you blame him?

Robinson has been one of the few bright spots on the Bears’ roster over the last couple of seasons, including a 2020 campaign in which he set a career-high in catches (102). His 1,250 yards were the second-best total of his career, and he managed to score six times despite catching passes from quarterbacks like Mitch Trubisky and Nick Foles. He was highly productive in 2019 as well, finishing that year with 1,149 yards and seven scores.

So, yeah, Robinson’s exceeded expectations considering the factors (aka quarterbacks) he’s been forced to overcome. And, yeah, he’s earned a big raise from the three-year, $42 million contract he signed with the Bears in 2018. Chicago just hasn’t committed to him. And if a team isn’t going to commit to a player, maybe that player—once a season is basically lost—should think long and hard about protecting future earnings (i.e. not rushing back from injury) for a club that isn’t going anywhere and that isn’t willing to invest in him. Fans hate the idea of a player putting his own interests over the team’s, but this might be where we’re at with Robinson at this point.

Sure, Robinson could take the practice field before the end of the week and suit up for the Bears’ matchup against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday. But if he doesn’t, don’t be surprised if this becomes the new normal for No. 12 as the season comes to a close. Hamstring injuries can legitimately linger for weeks, and maybe that’s really what’s happening here. But they can also be an easy out for a player who’s looking to avoid unnecessary punishment before getting paid.

Robinson’s most valuable asset is his body. His priority will be protecting it, and there’s nothing the Bears can do about it.

Written By:

Bryan Perez

Staff Writer

Bryan’s past stops include covering the Chicago Bears as the managing editor for USA Today’s Bears Wire and as a Bears writer for NBC Sports Chicago. He’s covered the NFL Draft for various outlets, including his time as the co-owner of Draft Breakdown. In addition to his contributions in football media, Bryan spent time as a Northeast scout for the CFL’s Ottawa Redblacks, is a licensed attorney, and most importantly, a proud husband and the father of two sons.