Do Chicago Bears have a new WR1?

Chicago Bears (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)
Chicago Bears (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images) /

Allen Robinson wants to be paid like a wide receiver one. He is getting close to top-end money with the Chicago Bears on the franchise tag, but he wants to be with the elite of the elite. Some would say this is fair, considering Robinson has been a trustworthy target. However, while Robinson has been an excellent wideout, he is undoubtedly in that tier behind the DeAndre Hopkins of the world.

2021 is a big year for Robinson to prove his value. He is expected to test the market and arguably get his last huge contract before his age starts to hinder his earning potential. With that in mind, the start to his year has not gone well.

Fans are up in arms about a drop in the end zone, but it arguably is worse. Through two weeks, Robinson has effectively been the Bears’ second wide receiver and their slot receiver at that.

Playing Time

This is a minor detail, but the Chicago Bears treat Darnell Mooney like the WR1 and not Robinson. When there is one wideout on the field, it is typically Mooney. Mooney has played 127 snaps to just 115 for Robinson, who did not miss snaps due to health questions.

Beyond that, Mooney has run 78 routes to the 72 of Robinson. Again, small details, but Mooney is on the field more and working into the secondary more.


Robinson is hardly playing less than Mooney. Can we say that Mooney is the top wideout? Well, through two weeks, he has outperformed him as well. Mooney has 15 targets to 14 of Robinson. This may be surprising because Robinson is an underneath target hog, and Mooney is a deep threat. However, Mooney’s average depth of target is down from 11 to closer to 6. He is working underneath far more than he ever has as a rookie. Despite that, he still has 38% of the Bears total air yards, compared to 30% for Robinson.

This has led to more production. Mooney has 11 catches, Robinson has eight. Mooney has 92 yards, Robinson has 59.

Mooney has run six more routes than Robinson. He also has 1.23 yards per route run created. Robinson is at 0.84. Maybe there is a reason they are going with Mooney to run more routes.

Who is the Chicago Bears Number 1 Wide Out

Last year around this time, I wrote that Mooney ascended to wideout two status in Chicago. Fans thought Anthony Miller was for sure the top guy and were still holding out hope for Riley Ridley. Of course, two weeks in Mooney was that man, and he only ascended further into that role as the year went. Is the same thing happening this year? Is it a slow change in the first two weeks, but by week 10, everyone will agree?

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If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, we call it a duck. If Mooney plays more than Robinson and outproduces Robinson, then through two weeks, the Bears have a new WR1.