Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

When the Bears and Allen Robinson resumed extension talks back in September, there was some optimism that the two sides could work out their differences and keep Robinson around long-term. That optimism was short-lived, as the relationship quickly devolved and he eventually started liking tweets encouraging him to skip town.

The last we heard about a month ago, the team was bracing for the star receiver to leave in free agency. However, it appears GM Ryan Pace might not let him walk out the door so easily. Pace recently talked about the franchise tag being a tool at the team’s disposal this offseason, and Adam Jahns of The Athletic thinks that was to send a message to Robinson and his reps that the team is going to play hardball.

Robinson has said recently he’s open to returning to Chicago, but doesn’t want to play under the tag. It seems the Bears are reluctant to pay his asking price, which is rumored to be top of the receiver market money. Meanwhile, the two sides haven’t had any further talks about an extension since those discussions way back in September, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com reports, so a long-term deal certainly doesn’t seem imminent.

Interestingly, Pelissero floated a potential tag and trade scenario as a viable option. “That would certainly seem to bring the (franchise) tag into play,” Pelissero said. “Whether it is the Bears to try to do an extension, whether it is setting up Robinson to play on the tag, or maybe even a tag-and-trade scenario.”

Robinson has managed to produce consistently despite playing with bottom-tier quarterbacks his entire career, and is still only 27, so if the Bears do dangle him in trade talks there will likely be no shortage of suitors. He had 102 catches for 1,250 yards and six touchdowns this past season, even as Mitchell Trubisky and Nick Foles shuffled back and forth ineffectively.

This article first appeared on Pro Football Rumors and was syndicated with permission.

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