Signing Allen Robinson would fill a glaring need for the Detroit Lions

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports /

It’s no secret the Detroit Lions are in the market to add a dependable wide receiver in free agency this offseason. One name that will indeed be considered is Detroit native Allen Robinson.

The St. Mary’s prep product burst onto the scene as a 21-year old with the Jacksonville Jaguars following two sensational collegiate seasons at Penn State. Robinson hauled in 77 balls totaling 1,018 yards and 11 scores as a sophomore. He followed that up with 1,432 receiving yards and six touchdowns on 97 receptions before entering the NFL Draft.

Robinson was selected 61st overall by the Jaguars in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft. Robinson hauled in 48 of his 81 targets in his rookie season, totaling 548 yards and a score. He’d follow that up by posting career-year numbers in his second professional season totaling 1,400 yards and a league-leading 14 touchdown receptions.

The 28-year old pass-catcher is exactly what the Detroit Lions need to compliment Amon-Ra St. Brown and whoever the organization decides to add via the 2022 NFL Draft.

Robinson is the perfect outside receiving threat the Lions desperately lack. The 6-foot-2 pass-catcher is a physical 220-pound receiver who doesn’t shy away from helping in the run game as a blocker.

This past season, Robinson and the Chicago Bears had an obvious rift after contract negotiations broke down between the two sides on a multi-year extension a year ago, leading to general manager Ryan Pace slapping the franchise tag on the distinguished receiver this past season.

Robinson was limited to 12 games this past season due to injury and COVID-19 protocols but produced the worst season of his career. Robinson, who had been targeted over 150 times in each of the two seasons prior, garnered just 66 targets in ’21 totaling 410 yards on 38 catches scoring just one touchdown; not exactly the numbers you’d like to accumulate heading into a contract year.

I decided to reach out to Ryan Heckman of Da Windy City, to get a better grip on what was going on with Robinson in Chicago this season.

"I think the issue with Allen Robinson was the fact that Ryan Pace cut off contract ties back in the fall of 2020. Robinson felt like Chicago didn’t want him. This past season, he didn’t show much effort. He jogged a lot of routes and showed zero effort blocking. Many Bears fans are glad to see him go because of things like that. I don’t know if he’s trending downwards, but he’s not worth what he thought he was a year ago. Mooney connected with fields right away because Fields loves throwing deep. That had a lot to do with it. But Robinson didn’t seem to care a whole lot last year, and that was evident. As far as what he’ll get paid, I’m not positive. I think he could get $10-$15M per year, but that higher-end is definitely an overpay."

This is not the type of review you are looking for when sifting through potential free agents you hope to sign. I don’t discount Ryan’s observations, but I hope a lot of Robinson’s issues did come from not seeing eye to eye with head coach Matt Nagy and GM Ryan Pace. I believe Robinson will benefit greatly from a fresh start, and what better place for a clean slate than your hometown?

The Detroit Lions should look to add Allen Robinson at the right price.

I use the term proceed with caution only because of what Robinson may be seeking on the open market. Former Detroit Red Wings general manager, Ken Holland, said it best; teams never get a deal in free agency. I genuinely believe this. Sometimes a veteran player will take a discount to join a specific team that is tight against the cap with championship aspirations. Still, usually, organizations find themselves in the midst of a bidding war when it comes to landing the more talented players.

The Detroit Lions need a player like Allen Robinson, but paying $14-18 million per season (my annual salary prediction) on a multi-year deal isn’t the ideal situation for an organization that is just entering year two of another wholesale rebuild.

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If Robinson’s market comes in a bit lower than I expect, maybe in the $10-$15 million range as Ryan suggests, I’d be all for bringing him in on a multi-year deal.