By: Lucas Kochevar
The free agent market for WR is actually pretty deep this year with big names like Chris Godwin, Kenny Golladay, and Juju Smith-Schuster. Allen Robinson is one of the most intriguing guys in this FA class. He has put up top receiver numbers on the Bears with QB play that screams inconsistency. Robinson put up the second best season of his career this past year and proved to be dominant in certain games.
Allen Robinson suffered a torn ACL in 2017, but you would never notice that because of how he runs routes. He stops with no issues on routes that require quick stops. He displays double moves on inside routes that give him the separation he needs to make strong catches over the middle. In zones he is able to find the sweet spots to get the ball, but against man coverage is where you get to see his best trait, his jump ball skills. Robinson excels in these situations. Bears QBs the past year often would throw the ball at Robinson, expecting a miracle and he would deliver. They refused to throw him open and forced him to go up and take the ball away from the defender. Robinson does a good job at high pointing the ball as he normally extends right over the defender or defenders. There is a touchdown catch he makes against the Colts near the end of the game that really shows off this skill as he reaches over the player, somehow makes the grab, and gets both feet down.
According to PFF, since 2017 Allen Robinson has the 2nd lowest drop rate in the NFL at 2.2% right behind Larry Fitzgerald. Robinson also has the most contested catches since 2018 with 65. These two stats describe what type of guy he is at his best. The parts in his game that aren't very good is is YAC, yards after catch. It was noticeable that once he catches the ball, he does not get much further. This might be where the ACL injury has taken its toll on his body. He doesn't show killer speed as his game is much more technically sound. He normally catches the ball and falls, sometimes due to where the ball is thrown and sometimes it is due to him just accepting his fate. This isn't a horrible a trait, but in a league that is more explosive than ever before this is something to note when evaluating his value.
Sportrac.com has his market value at somewhere around 4/yrs and $80 million. There is definitely no guarantee that he will get this, but you have to imagine at 27, this will be his last big shot at a large payday. He seems like a standup guy so it is hard to evaluate whether his priority is getting paid or winning. If he wants to get paid, the obvious options are both New York teams as they have big needs at WR and they would likely have to overpay in order to get a big name like Robinson. If winning is more important, then I would suggest teams like Indianapolis or Baltimore. These two teams have the need at WR. Indy is losing T.Y. Hilton to free agency, likely, and Baltimore needs a big catch WR on the opposite side of speedster Marquise Brown to help Lamar Jackson.
The best of both worlds would be New England. The Patriots certainly have a hole at WR and they have for a couple of years, outside of Julian Edelman. New England has a long established record of missing in the draft and trades, but free agency could provide NE their next big playmaker. The Pats history of winning is well-known and they could find themselves competing again with a strong offseason. They don't have the QB position fully figure out yet, but whoever they end up rolling with could greatly benefit from having Robinson. The Pats will be one of the teams with the most cap space. New England and Robinson seem like the best match for each other and this is where I would project him with that price tag of around 4/yrs. and $75-$80 million. Quickly, another scenario would be the Bears franchise tagging Robinson in hopes or working out something or trading him to one of the teams listed above. Very excited to see where the Bears pass catcher ends up this offseason.