SF 49ers should absolutely try adding Bears WR Allen Robinson

Allen Robinson II #12 of the Chicago Bears (Photo by Rob Leiter/Getty Images)
Allen Robinson II #12 of the Chicago Bears (Photo by Rob Leiter/Getty Images) /

The SF 49ers are depleted at wide receiver, yet Bears wideout Allen Robinson could suddenly be made available. The Niners should be aggressive here.

In some ways, the SF 49ers failing to negotiate an extension of some kind with now-New Orleans Saints wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders during the offseason is coming back to haunt the Niners early in 2020.

It’s showing now, at least early this season.

Head coach Kyle Shanahan’s wide receiver corps is depleted, having lost second-year pro Deebo Samuel to an offseason foot injury and a three-week placement on injured reserve. San Francisco’s first-round pick from the 2020 NFL Draft, Brandon Aiyuk, also missed Week 1 with a hamstring injury.

That left Kendrick Bourne and Dante Pettis as the SF 49ers’ starting wide receivers during the team’s opening-day loss to the Arizona Cardinals.

Less than ideal.

But there’s a new wrinkle in the development to potentially land a wide receiver upgrade: Chicago Bears wideout Allen Robinson.

The Chicago Tribune’s Brad Biggs reported Robinson has requested a trade following a breakdown in contract-extension talks, which was accompanied by Robinson removing the Bears from his personal social media accounts. Per Biggs, Chicago often has been able to negotiate deals before a contract year hits.

Robinson is in the final season of a three-year, $42 million free-agent contract he signed back in 2018.

Allen Robinson Receiving
4 yr4 yrJAX4341384202284814.122139904.766.252.6%1
3 yr3 yrCHI3028257158197512.511108495.365.861.5%1

Provided by Pro-Football-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 9/15/2020.

The 6-foot-2, 220-pound Robinson was on San Francisco’s radar before. And if he’s unhappy with his situation in Chicago, it more than makes sense why the SF 49ers could be interested.

Samuel’s injury recovery could still be tricky. And despite the hype Aiyuk generated in training camp, one has to remember he’s still a rookie coming off an abbreviated offseason program amid the COVID-19 pandemic. He has yet to play a regular-season snap at the NFL level, and there’s likely to be a sharp adjustment curve there.

On top of that, the Niners could use a veteran’s presence at this position, much like what Sanders provided to the team after being acquired just before the 2019 trade deadline from the Denver Broncos.

While there’s little questioning the upgrade, the real question for head coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch is whether or not a move would be worth it.

SF 49ers should view Allen Robinson as a rental, not a long-term fixture

Biggs also reported the Bears would only likely explore dealing Robinson if there was some sort of trade-and-sign deal worked in place.

That seems likely, although it’s not a route the 49ers should necessarily pursue.

The Niners are projected to have $18,206,101 in cap space against a $176 million estimated cap in 2021, per Over the Cap. Robinson’s cap hit of $13 million would cut into San Francisco’s space for next season, as that number includes rollover, and it would hinder the team’s ability to re-sign players like offensive tackle Trent Williams and cornerbacks Richard Sherman and K’Waun Williams, all of whom are free agents next season.

Additionally, it would hinder the team’s efforts to extend other players like linebacker Fred Warner, which will be high on Lynch’s priority list.

As a rental, though, it makes more than enough sense as long as Chicago is willing to hear the offer. Yes, it’s likely the SF 49ers would have to give up a prized draft pick or two, perhaps a first- or second-round selection. But with so many NCAA conferences canceling or delaying seasons in 2020 amid the pandemic, one can question just how valuable those picks are ultimately going to be.

Especially with the Niners already within their Super Bowl window.

Next. 5 lessons 49ers learned after Week 1 loss to Cardinals. dark

From a simple vantage point, it makes sense for Lynch to pull the trigger as long as the Bears are willing to listen.