Allen Robinson II is moving out of the Windy City this offseason after an underwhelming 2021 campaign that featured tension with the old regime. Despite new promising leadership in place with general manager Ryan Poles and head coach Matt Eberflus, Robinson is going to hit the open market and likely sign with a new franchise.
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Robinson can be that true X-receiver for whichever team is looking for one. In his four years with the Chicago Bears, Robinson has been a top-15-graded receiver in the league, as he has been the definition of reliable over that span despite suboptimal quarterback play. Since 2018, he ranks fourth among wide receivers in drop rate (2.5%) and tied for 10th in total inaccurate receptions (72). He has been known for the latter throughout his career, even dating back to high school.
Robinson is notorious for bailing out poor quarterback play, as well over three-fourths of his targets at the NFL level have come from Blake Bortles and Mitchell Trubisky. Robinson probably has no interest in going to a poor quarterback situation given what he has dealt with up until this point in his career, but that doesn’t mean he needs an MVP-level quarterback.
Below are Robinson's five most likely landing spots in free agency.
Jacksonville has needs at nearly every position outside of quarterback, but its top priority in free agency should be supplying Lawrence with a reliable veteran receiver. With Chris Godwin returning to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Robinson is their next best option. Last year’s Jaguars receiving room ranked 30th in unit receiving grade and caused Lawrence to post the second-worst drop rate among quarterbacks (9.3%). With Marvin Jones in the last year of his contract and Laviska Shenault Jr. not developing as hoped, Jacksonville should be willing to invest heavily in the position during both free agency and the draft. They have the money to spend on what is likely to be a three-year, $48 million contract (with $30 million guaranteed) on Robinson.
Indianapolis is going to heavily pursue San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo after trading away Carson Wentz. Along with that, general manager Chris Ballard could throw a dart at another quarterback in the 2022 NFL Draft. Either way, it’s not a situation that would jump off of the page for Robinson, but the Colts could easily be the highest bidder considering their league-leading cap space. Indianapolis needs more talent at receiver, as the team ranked 23rd in team receiving grade in 2021 even with Michael Pittman Jr. — a top-20 graded player at the position — included. The Robinson and Pittman duo would be able to help out whichever quarterback is leading the charge for Indianapolis (to a certain extent, of course).
New England struck gold in the 2021 NFL Draft by landing quarterback Mac Jones with the 15th overall pick without trading up, as he finished his rookie campaign with an 80.4 PFF grade that ranked 12th among quarterbacks. New England now needs to bolster its wide receiver room, as the Pats’ outside receivers ranked 21st among the 32 NFL teams in receiving grade last season. New England was rumored to be in on Calvin Ridley before learning about his suspension and are in the Amari Cooper sweepstakes as well. It’s safe to say Robinson is certainly under consideration because he is the best free-agent wide receiver on the market after the franchise tags were dished out.
Cleveland's receiving unit went from a quality group to one that badly needs help in 2021, as the Browns ranked 27th in team receiving grade this past season. According to PFF’s Doug Kyed, the team is currently weighing its options with Jarvis Landry. Cutting or trading Landry is in the cards in the coming days. No matter what, Cleveland will revamp its wide receiver room in free agency. If the Browns cut ties with Landry or prefer pass rush with their No. 13 overall pick, paying up for one of the top wide receivers on the open market — such as Robinson — increasingly becomes a possibility.
Quarterback Derek Carr needs an outside threat to pair with slot receiver Hunter Renfrow and tight end Darren Waller. Among 67 qualifying wide receivers when lined up on the outside in 2021, Zay Jones ranked 49th in receiving grade while Bryan Edwards ranked 64th. Adding Robinson wouldn’t fix the Raiders' need for a speedy deep threat, but his catch radius and ability to win 50-50 balls paired with Carr’s accuracy would make for a quality quarterback-receiver connection.