As you might expect, the Bears’ first big free-agent agreement was cut with the guy who missed almost all of last season because of a knee injury. Talk about liking your guys pre-injured.
While you were sleeping, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported the Bears will sign Allen Robinson to a three-year deal worth $42 million with $25 million guaranteed. Tribune football guru Brad Biggs reported a source close to Robinson confirmed the agreement.
Much has been written about the Bears’ fascination with Robinson, who’s coming off ACL surgery on his left knee after making one catch in the Jaguars’ opener last season. Much of that fascination stems from the Bears’ having no wide receivers because of bad scouting and bad injuries. It all made sense, but look, Robinson was available because he’s coming off knee surgery, and if he was healthy, he’d still be a Jaguar, you have to believe.
But if he’s healthy to start offseason activities and if he can stay that way, then Robinson will bring a lot of things that will help a young quarterback such as Mitch Trubisky. Robinson, who will turn just 25 this summer, is a big target at 6-3 and 225 pounds, according to Pro-football-reference.com. A quality route-runner, Robinson averaged 14.1 yards per catch in his three seasons before his knee injury, scoring 22 TDs in 42 games.
But the guy who should’ve been the Bears’ first priority is Sammy Watkins because he would’ve given the Bears something they don’t have: A receiver with separation speed.
The Bears have nobody who can blow to the top off the defense, nobody who scares other secondaries, nobody who opens up other areas that makes teammates more productive.
And they still might not, because reports Tuesday morning had Watkins agreeing to three years for $48 million with the Chiefs.
Sad face emoji.
The Bears tried to address their weakest position, and when they got into the red zone, they picked the wrong target.
The Bills made Watkins the fourth overall pick in the 2014 draft, and since then, he has scored 25 TDs and averaged 15.9 yards per catch, almost two yards per catch better than Robinson’s first three seasons.
Last year, Watkins caught just 39 passes for 539 yards, but scored eight TDs and helped the Rams become the NFL’s top-scoring offense.
Speaking of the Rams, coming to the Bears would’ve been deja quarterback all over again for Watkins. Entering his second pro season, Trubisky will start after spending the early part of his rookie season as a backup, the same career trajectory as Watkins’ quarterback last season, Rams starter Jared Goff, who, funny how things work out, has been Trubisky’s roommate and workout partner this offseason.
Goff threw for 3,804 yards and 28 TDs while completing more than 62 percent of his passes as the Rams won the NFC West last season. Not to say that’s the season Trubisky will have in 2018, but he’d better have that season soon and he’d better have a lot of those seasons or they’ll have to blow up everything again. Signing more playmakers would stave off another George McCaskey-Ted Phillips press conference, and playmaking receivers for a potential franchise quarterback would seem to be the quickest cure for what makes everybody sick watching the Bears offense.
Free agency officially opens Wednesday at 3 p.m., and if nothing changes, such as the Bears stealing Watkins, too, then I expect Pace to say he believes he found just the playmaker he wanted. I believe he could’ve done better with Watkins. I’d rather have the fast guy with two good knees who catches TDs. I’d rather have the guy who gives the Bears three things they don’t have.
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