Free Agency

NY Jets must explore tag-and-trade for Allen Robinson

Mar 11, 2021, 12:56 PM EST
NY Jets, Allen Robinson (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images)
NY Jets, Allen Robinson (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images)
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Wide receiver has long been a position of need for the NY Jets. The last time they had a 1,000 yard wideout was Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker in 2015. Since then, only Robby Anderson has even eclipsed 900 receiving yards.

In other words, the Jets must make a move to put playmakers on the boundary. Currently, Jamison Crowder and Denzel Mims are the team’s only starting-level options, with Braxton Berrios being the next-man-up.

Luckily, the Jets are going to have options to improve the unit.

As the Jets sit second to the Jacksonville Jaguars in cap space, the Jets are expected to be big players in the free-agent wide receiver market. New York will be able to court players such as Kenny Golladay, Will Fuller, JuJu Smith-Schuster, and many more.

However, there may be a better option to address their need at wide receiver. One that while it will cost assets, will drastically improve the unit. That is, though, assuming the Chicago Bears are willing to trade Allen Robinson.

Allen Robinson’s situation in Chicago

As things stand at the moment, Allen Robinson has the franchise tag designation from the Bears. Meaning that barring a contract extension agreed to before the mid-July deadline, Robinson will play the 2021 NFL season under a franchise tag worth just under $18 million.

The decision to tag the star receiver was an easy one. The 27-year-old is coming off of a career-high 102 reception season, where he hauled in six touchdowns and 1,250 receiving yards. All coming from the quarterback play of Mitch Trubisky and Nick Foles.

Yes, the Bears are coming off a playoff berth, but the team is cash-strapped and in need of a new quarterback. It also happens that Robinson has previously voiced that he wants a long-term deal and not to play under the franchise tag, despite the Bears likely wanting him to play under it in 2021.

And that is exactly where the Jets come in.

The NY Jets’ interest

Now, it is not going to be easy for the Jets to pry Robinson away from the Bears. Robinson is easily Chicago’s best offensive player, and the team has a significant drop-off at the position after him.

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Except, the Jets are in a perfect position to work out a deal that benefits both parties.

As the Jets need another starting receiver and could use one of Robinson’s caliber, they should certainly inquire about getting a deal done. Again, the Jets have the cap space available to work out the long-term deal Robinson is searching for.

More importantly, the Jets have the assets necessary to pull off such a deal. Gang Green has additional first, third, and fifth-round picks in this year’s draft and can make a very enticing offer to the Bears.

What a deal could look like

For starters, Allen Robinson deserves to be recognized as one of the top receivers in the game. He is one of four players with at least 200 receptions over the past two seasons, and he did so with lackluster quarterback play.

He was also the fifth-highest graded receiver by Pro Football Focus in 2020, ahead of Adam Thielen, DeAndre Hopkins, Julio Jones, and more.

Acquiring Robinson would not come cheap, but the Jets can afford to deal draft capital to acquire the number one target they have been searching years for.

Here is what a potential deal would look like.

In this deal, the Bears would receive the 23rd overall pick for a player currently under contract for one season. Ultimately, accomplishing Chicago’s goal of not losing Robinson for nothing.

It also would allow the Bears to use Robinson’s $18 million cap hit from his franchise tag elsewhere.

Meanwhile, the Jets would keep the majority of their draft capital intact, only dealing the first-round pick acquired in the Jamal Adams trade.

They would immediately get a Pro Bowl-caliber receiver in his prime and be able to extend him right away. Thus, Robinson virtually becomes New York’s 23rd overall pick.

Next. 5 under-the-radar receivers to target in FA

In the end, who knows if Robinson will even be a tag-and-trade candidate? Maybe the Bears do work out a deal long-term with him, or simply let him play this season under the tag.

Nevertheless, if he is made available, the Jets must explore the potential cost of acquiring the former Pro Bowl receiver.

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