Bears’ free-agent WR search starts as Allen Robinson’s ends
On Thursday, the Bears agreed to add two receivers on one-year deals, sources confirmed: the Chiefs’ Byron Pringle and the Packers’ Equanimeous St. Brown.
Allen Robinson finally found a team willing to pay him — and a high-level quarterback to throw him the ball.
The Bears, meanwhile, took their first steps toward replacing Robinson on Thursday, signing theChiefs’ Byron Pringle and the Packers’ Equanimeous St. Brown to one-year deals, sources confirmed.
Robinson, who had spent the last two years looking for a long-term deal from the Bears that never came, signed a three-year deal with the defending Super Bowl champion Rams. He’ll get $30.7 million fully guaranteed and $46.5 million overall, a source said.
Only 28, he’ll get a chance to hit the market again in no fewer than three years. Until then, he’ll line up alongside Super Bowl MVP Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods, Van Jefferson and perhaps even Odell Beckham Jr. The Rams reportedly won’t let the Robinson signing keep them from pursuing Beckham, who tore his ACL in the Super Bowl.
Robinson will have Matthew Stafford, by far the best quarterback with whom he has ever played, throwing him the ball. Robinson spent his first four years with the Jaguars and four more with the Bears, who gave him the franchise tag for a disappointing 2021 season. In the last two years alone, Robinson had four different quarterbacks start at least six games: Justin Fields, Nick Foles, Mitch Trubisky and Andy Dalton.
After starting the new league year Wednesday with only two receivers on the roster who caught a pass last year — Darnell Mooney, with whom Fields has been training at Georgia Tech, and second-year wideout Dazz Newsome, who had two receptions — Fields will have new faces to target in 2022.
Pringle, 28, caught 42 regular-season passes for 568 yards and five touchdowns last year with the Chiefs, for whom Ryan Poles worked before being named the Bears’ general manager in January. In the playoffs, Pringle totaled 12 catches for 82 yards and three touchdowns — with two coming in the wild-card round against the Steelers.
The 6-1, 201-pound Pringle, a one-time undrafted free agent from Kansas State, will get $4 million and can make another $2 million in incentives. After playing 49% of the Chiefs’ offensive snaps, the speedster will see his playing time spike in Chicago — as either a No. 2 or No. 3 receiver.
St. Brown, a 6-5 Notre Dame alum, has loud physical tools but has struggled to find consistency as a pro. He had only nine catches for 98 yards last year and seven for 117 yards in 2020. He had 21 receptions for 328 yards as a rookie in 2018 before spending 2019 on injured reserve with an ankle injury.St. Brown, 25, projects in as a fourth/fifth receiver and special-teamer.
Neither player will prevent the Bears from signing more receivers — or drafting one next month. Robinson was the best receiver left on the free agent market; JuJu Smith-Schuster, Julio Jones, Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Will Fuller remain.
St. Brown is the second former Packers offensive player to join new Bears coordinator Luke Getsy, who was a Green Bay assistant for all but one season from 2014-21. Interior offensive lineman Lucas Patrick signed a two-year deal Wednesday.
The Bears’ pipeline from Green Bay flowed the other way Thursday, too. Punter Pat O’Donnell, the team’s longest-tenured player, agreed to a two-year deal to join the Packers. O’Donnell’s 46.2 yards per punt last year was the second-highest mark of his career.
O’Donnell, who was drafted in 2014, played for two general managers and three coaches with the Bears,not counting Poles and coach Matt Eberflus.
Running back Damien Williams, who scored three touchdowns for the Bears last year, agreed to sign a one-year deal with the Falcons on Thursday, a source confirmed, while former Bears offensive lineman Alex Bars joined the Raiders.