March 13-- Allen Robinson posted a picture to his Instagram page late last month. The wide receiver was posing at the front entry of a home wearing workout pants, a knit hat, a gray jacket over a Cubs jersey and great big smile.
He will be able to swap out that Cubs jersey for a Bears one very soon, and the smile might get a little wider.
The coveted wide receiver is expected to sign with the Bears after free agency opens at 3 p.m. Wednesday. ESPN's Adam Schefter first reported the news. A source close to Robinson confirmed it.
The negotiating window opened at 11 a.m. Monday and although no agreements are binding and Robinson cannot sign a contract until Wednesday afternoon, an agreement was reached in the early morning hours Tuesday.
Robinson gives the Bears a bona fide playmaking target for quarterback Mitch Trubisky, and the team's goal this offseason has been to upgrade the skill position players around last year's No. 2 overall pick. General manager Ryan Pace said last month at the scouting combine that he believed the Bears could improve at wide receiver quickly. Adding Robinson as the first-and biggest-piece of that equation takes care of a huge need.
"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 said Monday on SiriusXM's Mad Dog Sports Radio with host Adam Schein. "There are so many good situations out there. I just have to narrow it down and pick the best one."
Robinson suffered a torn ACL in his left knee in the 2017 season opener for the Jaguars. It's believed he will be back on the field this spring and fully cleared well in advance of training camp. That means he's unlikely to start training camp on the physically unable to perform list. Injuries have dogged the Bears at the position, with Kevin White going out for the season last year in Week 1 and Cameron Meredith missing the entire season with a torn ACL.
Robinson, a Penn State product, had a breakout season in 2015 when he caught 80 passes for 1,400 yards with 14 touchdowns playing with Blake Bortles. His followed up with 73 catches for 883 yards and six touchdowns in 2016 before last season was cut short by injury.
The Jaguars wanted to retain Robinson but opted against using the franchise tag on him. They have ample salary cap space but will have key moves to make in the near future. That put Robinson on the market, where he said he didn't think he would have trouble getting a multiyear contract. Terms of the agreement are not yet known.
At 6-foot-3, 211 pounds, Robinson is a big target for Trubisky, and he can run. He will turn 25 in August so should be entering his prime. He's not quite as fast as Watkins but is more multidimensional and gives the Bears a No. 1 receiver, something they played all last season without.
Pace and Co. probably aren't done finding help for the offense.
(c)2018 Chicago Tribune
Visit the Chicago Tribune at www.chicagotribune.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.