Patrick Robinson

Saints CB Patrick Robinson To Retire

Patrick Robinson will stop short of playing a 12th NFL season. Midway through training camp, the veteran cornerback has told the Saints he plans to retire, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Robinson, 33, was going into the final year of his contract.

Like Malcolm Jenkins, Robinson entered the NFL as a Saints first-round pick who ended up playing a major role on the Eagles’ 2017 Super Bowl-winning team. Both DBs migrated back to New Orleans. While Jenkins continued to see steady time in his second Saints stint, Robinson became a part-timer. His exit will nonetheless strip the Saints of another veteran corner. The team released previous starter Janoris Jenkins earlier this year.

Robinson saw considerably more time during his first Saints go-round, playing five seasons with the team to start the 2010s. The 2010 first-rounder then made his way to the Chargers and Colts in consecutive years, before landing with the Eagles on one-year contract — his third straight — in 2017.

Robinson manned the slot in Philadelphia and joined Jenkins in helping the team upset the Patriots in Super Bowl LII. The 5-foot-11 defender finished his age-30 season with four interceptions and graded as the league’s No. 6 overall cornerback that season, per Pro Football Focus. He added a pick-six in the Eagles’ NFC championship game rout against the Vikings.

The veteran parlayed that standout season into a four-year, $20MM deal to return to New Orleans. However, a broken ankle three games into the 2018 season sidetracked Robinson’s return. Although the Saints kept him on their roster in 2019 and 2020, Robinson topped out at just a 24% snap rate — in 2020 — during his second New Orleans tenure. He was a healthy scratch in the Saints’ divisional-round loss to the Buccaneers. The 11-year vet wraps his career with 16 interceptions — including a 99-yard pick-six in 2012 — and 83 passes defensed in 123 games.

The Saints have been on the lookout for cornerback help this offseason, attempting to trade up for Jaycee Horn or Patrick Surtain II and now being linked to Jaguars 2020 first-rounder C.J. Henderson. Robinson’s retirement underscores the team’s need at the position.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 1/9/21

Here are the latest NFL minor moves:

Baltimore Ravens

Cleveland Browns

Green Bay Packers

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

  • Signed to reserve/futures deal: QB/WR Joe Webb

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

Seattle Seahawks

Tennessee Titans

Minor NFL Transactions: 12/12/20

Here is Saturday’s usual barrage of minor moves:

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Cincinnati Bengals

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

Los Angeles Rams

  • Placed on reserve/COVID-19 list: LB Jachai Polite; Polite tested positive for the coronavirus, according to ESPN.com’s Field Yates (via Twitter)

Minnesota Vikings

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Washington Football Team

Saints Rework CB Patrick Robinson’s Contract

The Saints are looking to carve out some cap space. The organization reworked the contract of cornerback Patrick Robinson, reports ESPN’s Field Yates (via Twitter).

As Katherine Terrell of The Athletic tweets, this move doesn’t come as much of a surprise, as the Saints weren’t going to dedicate a $6.15MM cap number to a backup. The front office made a somewhat similar move earlier this evening when they restructured Kiko Alonso‘s contract.

Robinson, a 2010 first-rounder, spent the first five seasons of his career with the Saints, but he’s bounced around since leaving in 2014. Between 2015 and 2017, the defensive back had stints with the Chargers, Colts, and Eagles.

He landed back in New Orleans in 2018, but he’s been limited to only 14 games over the past two seasons. His 2018 season was derailed by a broken ankle, and he managed to compile 16 tackles and two passes defended in 11 games this past season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

South Rumors: Conklin, Freeman, Reid, Colts

Jack Conklin is in line to make his season debut for the Titans. The right tackle participated fully in Tennessee’s Friday workout and is set to play Sunday, per TitanInsider.com’s Terry McCormick (on Twitter). Finalizing a recovery from the torn ACL he suffered during the Titans’ divisional-round loss last season, Conklin missed the team’s first three games. Taylor Lewan returned from a concussion in Week 3. This will mark the first time the Titans have deployed their top two tackles together since that Patriots game in January.

Adoree’ Jackson also passed concussion protocol, per McCormick, paving a path for the second-year cornerback to play Sunday as well. Here’s the latest from the South divisions:

  • Devonta Freeman‘s knee issue, though, has not progressed to the point he’ll reclaim his starting spot. The Falcons will hold their first-string running back out again this week, Dan Quinn said Friday (via ESPN.com’s Vaughn McClure, on Twitter). Freeman has not played since injuring his knee against the Eagles on opening night.
  • Eric Reid‘s Panthers deal includes $390K in per-game roster bonuses, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports (on Twitter). The $390K will be in addition to Reid’s $1MM base salary, and Schefter adds playing-time and Pro Bowl incentives could bump this pact up to $2MM. It’s unclear what the playing-time thresholds are, or how much a Pro Bowl nod would increase’s Reid’s pay, however.
  • Patrick Robinson underwent ankle surgery on Wednesday, ESPN.com’s Mike Triplett of ESPN.com reports. This operation came because the Saints cornerback tore multiple ligaments in his injured ankle, NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reports (on Twitter). The Saints placed their slot corner on IR earlier this week. He is not expected to return this season.
  • Colts left tackle Anthony Castonzo will miss another week because of his injured hamstring. Frank Reich confirmed (via The Athletic’s Stephen Holder, on Twitter) the eighth-year veteran is out for Sunday’s game against the Texans. Castonzo has not played in a game this season and has now experienced multiple setbacks in attempts to surmount this hamstring problem. He’s not yet being considered for IR, however.

Saints To Place Patrick Robinson On IR

The Saints are expected to place cornerback Patrick Robinson on injured reserve with a broken ankle, sources tell Ian Rapoport and Mike Garafolo of NFL.com (on Twitter). The Saints initially thought Robinson was dealing with a sprain, but further tests uncovered more serious damage. 

It’s not immediately clear whether the injury will rule Robinson out for the year. Per league rules, Robinson can return after spending at least eight weeks on IR, so he could be back in the lineup later this year if he heals up quickly.

The injury will impact the Saints for however long Robinson is out of action. Through three weeks, the Saints have one of the worst-ranked pass defenses in the NFL, and the loss of their top slot man will hurt.

After winning a championship with the Eagles, Robinson inked a four-year deal with the Saints in March. Last year, he graded out as Pro Football Focus’ No. 6 ranked CB.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC South Rumors: Saints, Brees, Robinson

Drew Brees is back with the Saints on a two-year, $50MM deal that is arguably under market for what he provides. However, a deeper look at his contract shows some additional value. There is language in Brees’ deal that prevents the team from using the franchise tag on him after the 2019 season, according to Nick Underhill of The Times-Picayune (on Twitter).

This is familiar territory for the two parties. Brees’ previous deal also prohibited the Saints from using the tag on him, which forced New Orleans to negotiate a fresh contract with him this offseason.

Brees will be 41 in 2020 and there’s no guarantee that he’ll still be an elite QB or even willing to continue playing, But, if he is still at the top of his game, the Saints will have a little less leverage to work with.

Here’s more from the NFC South:

Saints To Sign Patrick Robinson

Patrick Robinson is set to sign with the Saints, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). It’s a four-year deal for the nickel cornerback.

Robinson, 30, is heading back to where it all began, as he was originally selected as a first-round pick by New Orleans in 2010. He’ll return after posting drastically better results with other clubs than he ever did with the Saints. Largely considered a bust until joining the Chargers in 2015, Robinson is now coming off arguably the best season of his career.

Signed to one-year contact for the veteran’s minimum, Robinson exceeded all expectations as the Eagles’ slot cornerback in 2017. On 853 defensive snaps, Robinson graded as the league’s No. 6 CB, per Pro Football Focus.

Philadelphia was expected to re-sign Robinson, but their small amount of cap space — which has already been used on players such as Michael Bennett, Haloti Ngata, and Nigel Bradham — made keeping him difficult. However, the Eagles actually offered Robinson more total money than the Saints, who gave Robinson more guaranteed cash, per Jenna Laine of ESPN.com.

Speaking of exceeding expectations, the Saints’ pass defense did just that last season. With rookie Marshon Lattimore playing like a shutdown corner, New Orleans ranked fifth in pass defense. Robinson will likely stick in his slot role with the Saints, although it’s possible they also ask him to play on the outside.

Meanwhile, free agent cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is no longer expected to visit the Saints after taking a meeting with the Redskins. That’s likely because both DRC and Robinson would have filled the same nickelback job in New Orleans.

[RELATED: Saints Depth Chart]

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Eagles Expect To Re-Sign Patrick Robinson

It seemed unlikely just a couple of weeks ago, but the Eagles believe they will have an extension hammered out with Patrick Robinson before legal tampering begins on Monday, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). Robinson emerged as both a key defensive player and a locker room leader for Philadelphia in 2017.

The Eagles don’t have a ton of cap room to work with, even after trading wide receiver Torrey Smith. The acquisition of Michael Bennett from the Seahawks has also set them back a bit, though that move will allow them to trade or release Vinny Curry before the majority of his $9MM salary becomes guaranteed for the coming year.

If Robinson isn’t retained by Philadelphia, the rival Giants will be among the teams with interest in signing him in free agency.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

PFR’s Top 50 NFL Free Agents For 2018 1.0

There will be tons of free agents available in March, but only a some of them can be real difference makers for your favorite team. To help separate the wheat from the chaff, we’ve assembled our early list of the Top 50 NFL Free Agents for 2018.

Our early version of the NFL’s top 50 free agents may include players who will be re-signed between now and March 14. When we update this list next week, a few of the big names will be spoken for while new high-profile names will join the fray as veterans become cap casualties.

Recently, we broke down the top free agents by position on both offense and defense, but our rankings below may not have each player listed in the same order. Those position lists took the short-term value of a player into account more heavily, meaning many players in their 30s received prominent placement. Our overall top 50 list favors longer-term value, and is more about forecasting which players will be in highest demand when it comes to years and dollars.

With those caveats out of the way, let’s dive in! Here are Pro Football Rumors’ top 50 NFL free agents for 2018:

1. Kirk Cousins, QB (Redskins): At long last, Kirk Cousins is headed towards unrestricted free agency. You may or may not regard Cousins as a star, but he is the best quarterback in recent history to reach the open market and QB-needy teams will be rolling out the red carpet for him. The Jets, Vikings, Broncos, and Cardinals have been named as the top suitors for his services, but the NFL is full of surprises this time of year and we would not be surprised to see other teams get involved. The cash-flush Browns are reportedly keen on signing a lower-cost vet and drafting a QB early, but who’s to say they won’t change course and get in on the Cousins sweepstakes? The Bills, Giants, Dolphins, Bucs, and Colts could also consider kicking the tires here, but there are obstacles in that bunch ranging from established starters already in place (Eli Manning, Ryan Tannehill, Jameis Winston, and Andrew Luck) to financial constraints. No matter where he goes, it’s almost certain that Cousins will become the league’s highest-paid player of all-time. That is, until another top-tier QB signs a contract extension soon after.

2. Drew Brees (Saints): There are multiple possibilities for Cousins but it’s hard to see a scenario in which Brees actually leaves the Saints. Brees has already said that he does not plan on testing free agency, so he’ll likely put pen to paper before things begin on March 14. As far as we can tell, the only way Brees will think about leaving is if he is lowballed to an extreme degree by the Saints, but that seems improbable based on his history with the team

3. Case Keenum (Vikings): One year ago, no one ever would have expected Keenum to be one of 2018’s most sought-after free agents. The Vikings signed the former Rams signal caller to a one-year, $2MM deal in March with the idea that he would back up Sam Bradford and, eventually slide down to third on the depth chart when/if Teddy Bridgewater returned to full health. When Bradford went down in September, Keenum exceeded all expectations and put together the best season of his career. The 30-year-old graded out as Pro Football Focus’ ninth-ranked QB in 2017, putting him above the likes of Jimmy Garoppolo, Aaron Rodgers, Marcus Mariota, Matthew Stafford, and Tyrod Taylor. With Keenum at the helm, the Vikings earned a first-round bye and beat the Saints in a playoff thriller before succumbing to the Eagles in the NFC championship game. Of course, after four seasons of mediocrity, teams are wondering whether this was an aberration or a real sign of things to come. Teams know that Keenum is not a lock, but he’s also the best Plan B for any team that loses out on Cousins or doesn’t have the means to sign him.

4. Andrew Norwell, G (Panthers): There was a time when tackles were the only offensive linemen to really cash in on the open market. That’s no longer the case, as evidenced by the contracts of Kevin Zeitler (five years, $60MM) and Kelechi Osemele (five years, $58.5MM). Osemele inked his free agent deal with the Raiders in 2016 and Zeitler signed his in the 2017 offseason. Given the cap increase and the natural progression of the market, Norwell figures to reset the market for interior linemen. Keenum figures to gross no less than $20MM/year on his next contract, so he’s slotted behind him, but an average annual value of $13-14MM is not out of the question for the former undrafted free agent.

5. Nate Solder, OT (Patriots): Solder isn’t coming off of his best season and he might be the least sexy name in the top ten. Still, there’s a dearth of tackles league-wide and Solder has been among the league’s best at his position for quite some time. The Patriots are bracing for Solder to leave as they fear he’ll garner offers of $12MM/year. No other tackle in this year’s free agent crop is even close to him in terms of ability, so we’re also buying into the hype. Injuries contributed to Solder’s up-and-down season, particularly early on, so teams will take that into account when evaluating him.

6. Allen Robinson, WR (Jaguars): The Jaguars opted against using the franchise tag on Robinson, which is understandable since they have limited cap space. Robinson missed almost all of 2017 with an ACL tear, but his 2015 season (and even his so-so 2016 campaign) gives teams reason to believe that he can be a quality WR1. Robinson is one of only two such players on the unrestricted market, so expect him to get paid. Robinson probably couldn’t do worse than Kenny Britt‘s four-year, $32MM deal with the Browns from last season (and he should do a whole lot better), but if he is underwhelmed by the multi-year offers he receives, he could always go the Alshon Jeffery route. Jeffery inked a one-year, $9.5MM prove-it deal with the Eagles and that turned out to be a smashing success for both parties. Jeffery was rewarded with a four-year, $52MM extension in December, so Robinson’s camp will surely be open to a pillow contract if necessary. 

7. Sammy Watkins, WR (Rams): Some may view Robinson and Watkins as 1A and 1B in this year’s wide receiver class, particularly since Robinson missed all of 2017 and Watkins, despite his own injury history, played in all but one of the Rams’ games. Unfortunately, Watkins did not have the platform year he was hoping for as he caught just 39 passes for 593 yards. If we strike Robinson’s lost year and Watkins’ down year from the record, the breakdown favors the Jags receiver – Robinson averaged 77 receptions for 1,078 yards and eight touchdowns per 16 games in that set versus Watkins’ 66 grabs for 1,063 yards and seven scores. These two should come pretty close in average annual value, but we give the edge to Robinson.

8. Trumaine Johnson, CB (Rams): Players often bemoan the franchise tag, but Johnson can’t really complain after receiving two consecutive tags from the Rams and earning more than $30MM between 2016 and 2017. The Rams, rightfully, did not consider a third consecutive tag for Johnson at a cost of ~$20MM and they already have his replacement in Marcus Peters. That’s one suitor down, but plenty of other teams will be eager to speak with Johnson, who profiles as the best cornerback in a deep class.

9. Sheldon Richardson, DT (Seahawks): Richardson gave the Jets lots of headaches, but he also gave them high-end production. He didn’t quite match that production in Seattle, but Richardson is positioned for a massive payday anyway since impactful defensive linemen are at a premium. Our own Dallas Robinson estimates that Richardson will garner about $9MM/year, but I would say that is his floor. The top-end of free agency rarely yields team-friendly deals, so Richardson could easily creep into eight figures in AAV, particularly since he does not turn 28 until November.

10. Dontari Poe, DT (Falcons): Poe thought he was in for a monster contract last offseason, but concerns about his lingering back issues forced him to take a one-year, $8MM deal with Atlanta. Teams may still worry about his back being a ticking time bomb, but perhaps they’ll view him in a different light now that he has played back-to-back 16 game seasons and has only missed two regular season contests over the course of his career.

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