Allen Robinson

NFC West Notes: Benjamin, Robinson, Hawks

The Cardinals saw some shuffling in their RB room this offseason, with James Conner getting a new deal, but Chase Edmonds signing with the Dolphins in free agency. That left the No. 2 role up for grabs, making the role one of the roster battles to watch throughout the offseason.

Arizona added quality depth at the position by signing Darrel Williams late last month. The former Chief had by far the best season of his four-year career in 2021, posting more than 1,000 scrimmage yards and scoring eight total touchdowns. The small workload he handled in his three previous campaigns suggests he would be well-suited to a significant backup role behind Conner.

However, an in-house option is currently in the lead for that spot. ESPN’s Josh Weinfus reports that Eno Benjamin has “caught the eye of” head coach Kliff Kingsbury with his work during the spring. The 2020 seventh-rounder saw a limited role behind Conner and Edmonds last season, receiving just 34 carries. Weinfus nevertheless tabs Benjamin as the “frontrunner” for the No. 2 job heading into training camp, where he will compete with Williams to determine the final pecking order.

Here are some other notes from around the NFC West:

  • The Rams made a widely applauded move in free agency by signing wideout Allen Robinson as a replacement for Robert Woods and, potentially, Odell Beckham Jr. According to Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer, the team consulted Matt Stafford and Cooper Kupp before finalizing the deal, an interesting tidbit on their decision-making process and confirmation, as Breer writes, of how the pair “will be invested in seeing that Robinson succeeds” in Los Angeles.
  • The Seahawks have made a pair of front office hires, both in the analytics department. ESPN’s Seth Walder tweets that Seattle is bringing in Becca Erenbaum, who had most recently served as a basketball insights associate with the New York Knicks. She will have the title of senior football research analyst in her new home. The Seahawks are also hiring Peter Engler as a football research assistant. He previously worked with the Charlotte Thunder of the American Arena Football League and the 33rd Team, a front office-driven analysis website.

Eagles Made “Competitive Offer” For Marcus Williams; Latest On WR, QB Pursuits

The Eagles have signed edge defender Haason Reddick and wide receiver Zach Pascal this offseason and otherwise have been mostly quiet in terms of adding outside talent. But that hasn’t been for lack of trying.

As Tim McManus of ESPN.com (subscription required) writes, Philadelphia made an effort to sign former Saints safety Marcus Williams. Per Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer (subscription required), the Eagles made a competitive offer to Williams, who ultimately signed a five-year, $70MM contract with the Ravens.

GM Howie Roseman also took some big swings at other positions. We already knew that the club nearly completed a trade for Falcons wideout Calvin Ridley before news of his gambling suspension surfaced, and according to McLane, the Eagles also had interest in WR Robert Woods. Woods was under contract with the Rams and was recently traded to the Titans, but Los Angeles gave him a say in his next destination, and he chose Tennessee over Philadelphia.

Precipitating the Rams’ trade of Woods was the club’s acquisition of Allen Robinson, whom Roseman also pursued. But Robinson, like Woods and most other notable players changing teams this offseason, elected to go elsewhere.

As McLane writes, the Eagles’ status as an also-ran when it comes to this year’s open market talent pool is perhaps a function of how players outside the organization view Philadelphia’s chances to compete in 2022. And, of course, a team’s chances to compete are inextricably linked to that team’s QB.

While it is unfair to exclusively blame incumbent signal-caller Jalen Hurts for the Eagles’ inability to make more FA or trade acquisitions thus far in 2022, McLane confirms that the Eagles were interested in Deshaun Watson and Russell Wilson, and he believes that Roseman will continue to do everything he can to find an upgrade over Hurts.

That could mean using one of his three first-round picks in next month’s draft on a passer, though McLane thinks that Roseman will not do so and will instead trade one of those picks to enhance his draft capital in 2023, when the QB prospects are expected to be better than this year’s crop. And assuming that the Eagles do not draft a quarterback this year, and do not view a trade candidate like Jimmy Garoppolo or Baker Mayfield as a worthy investment, then Hurts will get another chance to prove his long-term value.

Contract Details: Miller, Robinson, Reddick, Mariota, Jensen, Collins, Brown, Norwell

Here are the latest details from contracts recently agreed to across the league, starting with the Bills’ big-ticket deal for a future Hall of Fame edge rusher:

  • Von Miller, LB (Bills): Six years, $120MM. Miller’s deal includes $51.44MM guaranteed. The Bills will keep Miller’s early base salaries low; he is tied to $1.1MM (2022) and $1.3MM (’23) salaries, Aaron Wilson of ProFootballNetwork.com tweets. Miller has a $13.34MM roster bonus due in 2023, and Albert Breer of SI.com tweets his deal includes $50MM over the first two years. His $17.1MM, $19.6MM and $29.6MM salaries from 2025-27 are nonguaranteed.
  • Allen Robinson, WR (Rams): Three years, $46.5MM. Robinson is attached to guaranteed base salaries of $1.5MM and $10MM in 2022 and ’23, respectively, per Wilson (on Twitter). The contract includes a $5.75MM roster bonus on Day 5 of the 2024 league year. If Robinson surpasses 2,200 receiving yards in the regular season and playoffs during the 2022 or ’23 seasons, Wilson adds his 2024 year will void (Twitter link). Only Cooper Kupp has accomplished that feat in a season.
  • Haason Reddick, DE (Eagles): Three years, $45MM. Reddick, who is guaranteed $30MM, is tethered to base salaries of just $1MM and $1.1MM in 2022 and 2023, per Wilson (on Twitter). His $13.75MM 2024 salary is nonguaranteed. The Eagles tacked three void years onto the deal for cap purposes. Reddick will collect a $13.7MM roster bonus in 2023.
  • Ryan Jensen, C (Buccaneers): Three years, $39MM. Jensen’s deal includes $26.5MM guaranteed. The Bucs center is tied to a $1.5MM base salary in 2022 and a $12.5MM base in 2023, Wilson tweets. Jensen’s 2023 salary is partially guaranteed at signing; it will become fully guaranteed if he is on Tampa Bay’s roster by Day 5 of the 2023 league year. A $1.5MM 2024 roster bonus resides in this deal as well. The Bucs included two void years here for cap purposes.
  • La’el Collins, T (Bengals): Three years, $30MM. The contract is closer to a two-year, $20MM pact, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter, with Year 3 being included for cap purposes (Twitter link). It appears Cincinnati has dipped into the void-year realm, though is not clear just yet how this contract is structured.
  • Marcus Mariota, QB (Falcons): Two years, $18.75MM. This deal veers closer to a one-year pact. Mariota is due $6.75MM in 2022, but NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero notes (on Twitter) a $12MM 2023 option is included in this contract. A key point for Mariota’s Atlanta future will arrive on Day 5 of the 2023 league year, when a $3MM roster bonus is due.
  • Trent Brown, T (Patriots): Two years, $13MM. Brown will see $4MM guaranteed, Pelissero tweets. The veteran right tackle can earn up to $22MM on the contract.
  • Andrew Norwell, G (Commanders): Two years, $10MM. Norwell will collect $5.7MM guaranteed, Wilson tweets. He is set to earn $1.2MM and $3.54MM in base salary, with Wilson adding Washington added three void years onto this deal.

Rams To Sign Allen Robinson

The league’s top free agent receiver has reportedly found a new home. The Rams are signing Allen Robinson to a three-year, $46.5MM deal, per NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero (Twitter link). He adds that the contract includes $30.7MM in guaranteed money. 

Robinson, 28, has spent four seasons with each of the Jaguars and Bears. Despite playing with underwhelming quarterbacks throughout most – if not all – of that span, he has established himself as one of the league’s most productive possession receivers. He has three 1,000 yard seasons to his name.

However, his time with the Bears was thought to be coming to an end before the 2021 season had finished. With the exception of 2017, where he only appeared in one game, the former second rounder produced career-lows statistically. He totalled 38 receptions for 410 yards and a single touchdown.

That lack of production created the possibility of a depressed market for his services. However, many saw the disappointing campaign more as an indictment of Matt Nagy and the Bears’ overall struggles on offense than a sign of Robinson slowing down. That, coupled with the fact that other top options such as Davante Adams and Chris Godwin were franchise tagged (and subsequently extended, in the latter’s case) left the Penn State product at the top of the list in terms of available options.

In Los Angeles, Robinson will join a receiving corps which already includes Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods. With newfound money due to Von Miller leaving in free agency, the team could afford a splashy signing such as this one. However, ESPN’s Adam Schefter adds that the Rams “still have money left over for Odell Beckham Jr. and hope to re-sign him” (Twitter link).

While it remains to be seen if Beckham remains in L.A. now, the Rams have, in any event, upgraded what was already one of the league’s best passing attacks. With Matt Stafford in place, along with an even more talented skill-position core around him, they should remain firmly in contention to repeat as Super Bowl champions.

Bears Won’t Tag Allen Robinson

The Bears will allow Allen Robinson to reach free agency without a franchise tag (Twitter link via Courtney Cronin of ESPN.com). The Bears cuffed the wide receiver last year at a rate of $17.9MM, but they’ll pass on the chance to do it again with a 20% bump. 

Poles has told reporters that he wants to “be selective in free agency” — apparently, that means moving on from Robinson, a talented wide receiver that has clashed with team brass throughout the years. His dissatisfaction with Matt Nagy was apparent last year and his production was nowhere near his once stellar work. In 2021, Robinson tallied 38 catches for 410 yards and one touchdown, down from his 1,100-yard seasons in 2019 and 2020.

Now, Robinson has a chance at a fresh start and an opportunity to pick his next quarterback. He’s unlikely to get something in the range of $20MM — the would-be value of his 2022 tag — but he should still be able to land somewhere around $15MM/year on average. Despite his challenging 2021, a three-year, $45MM deal doesn’t seem out of reach for Robinson given his overall track record.

Meanwhile, the rest of the wide receiver market is starting to take shape. The Buccaneers are still working on a long-term deal with Chris Godwin, but they plan to franchise tag him if that doesn’t come to fruition. Meanwhile, the Packers are prepared to do the same for Davante Adams, though we might not know for sure until the 4pm ET/3pm CT deadline today.

AFC East Rumors: Bills, Jets, Douglas, Jackson

On Friday, New York Governor Kathy Hochul made comments that all but guaranteed that an agreement for a new stadium for the Bills will be made soon, according to Mike Florio of NBC Sports.

Highmark Stadium (previously Rich Stadium, Ralph Wilson Stadium, and New Era Field) has been the home of the Bills since 1973. The Bills’ current lease on Highmark expires in 2023 and the franchise has been pushing with many government entities to build them a shiny, new stadium. The team has used the very real looming threat that there are plenty of other markets in the country that can support an NFL franchise.

Hochul commented on that threat saying, “That’s why we’re negotiating very intently, to make sure we have the right outcome for this community.” The new stadium will partially be funded by the public to the tune of about $850MM. The Governor claims that a deal will be done by April 1, in time for the annual budget.

Here are a few other rumors from around the AFC East, starting with a couple of notes that keep us in the Empire State:

  • The Jets are planning to use this offseason to add some weapons to the roster for quarterback Zach Wilson. They currently have Corey Davis and Elijah Moore sitting atop the depth chart. They would love to bring back Braxton Berrios as a fourth-receiver/gadget player and they haven’t yet given up on Denzel Mims. Still, New York will have ample opportunity to add a potential No. 1 receiver to the roster, according to SNY’s Ralph Vacchiano. The free agent market is home to many household names like Chris Godwin, Allen Robinson, Mike Williams, and, potentially, Amari Cooper. Players like Calvin Ridley and Cole Beasley have been rumored to be available via trade. The 2022 NFL Draft is also so rich in talented receivers that many believe some first round talent could fall to the second round where the Jets have two high picks, if they don’t choose to take a top prospect like Garrett Wilson or Drake London with the 10th overall pick.
  • That being said, Vacchiano also reports that, despite their vast spending ability, general manager Joe Douglas has been preaching the maintenance of financial flexibility. Though the Jets rank in the Top 5 in the NFL in salary cap space, Douglas rejected the notion that their $50-60MM in cap space will be dedicated to big spending in free agency. Douglas acknowledged free agency as just one of “a lot of different tools to improve your roster” and pointed to the Bengals as an example of responsible free agent spending. “I think Cincy did great in free agency last year,” he said. “They didn’t blow the doors off in terms of signing super high-priced guys. They brought in guys who fit exactly what they wanted to do.”
  • According to Mike Giardi of NFL Network, Patriots’ cornerback JC Jackson is likely headed for free agency with some lofty expectations. While Jackson still likes the Patriots, money is a big factor for the 26-year-old. Giardi claims that Jackson is strictly seeking compensation similar to Jalen Ramsey. New England won’t bring that money to the table and it sounds like they won’t be utilizing their franchise tag on Jackson, either. That information could lead to a tag and trade situation if other teams aren’t willing to shell out for Jackson in free agency.

Bears’ Allen Robinson, Akiem Hicks Leaving In Free Agency?

2022 will be an important season for the Bears, with Matt Eberflus and Ryan Poles taking over as head coach and general manager, respectively. It will also be the first full year of Justin Fields being the undisputed starting quarterback. However, as Adam Jahns of The Athletic writes, they could very well find themselves without Pro Bowlers Allen Robinson and Akiem Hicks

Poles’ stated goal to “be selective in free agency” might not include Robinson or Hicks. The former has made it clear that he was not a fan of ex-HC Matt Nagy in particular, and of the offensive direction of the team more generally. The 28-year-old posted 38 catches for 410 yards and one touchdown last season, a far cry from his 1,100-plus yard seasons in the two previous campaigns.

Robinson signed his franchise tender last year, with many feeling it may be his final season in the Windy City. As Jahns writes, “aligning with a veteran quarterback is arguably in his best interests”, either as part of a long-term deal closer to the $14MM per year he originally agreed to in Chicago, or on a shorter pact to prove he can still play at an elite level.

As for Hicks, frustrations with the franchise could again be a deciding factor in his plans. As Jahns notes, even tough nearly the entire defensive staff has been replaced, the 32-year-old could look elsewhere on the open market – a stark turnaround from preseason reports that he was looking to stay in Chicago. With injuries becoming a concern in recent years, Hicks is still amongst the most disruptive interior linemen in the league, recording seven total sacks in the last two seasons. However, Jahns writes, “Hicks seemed to sense that his time was ending with the Bears” towards the end of the regular season. Regardless of where he ends up, Hicks will likely not be able to match the $12MM annual average he was making on his soon-to-be expired contract.

In the case of both players, Jahns predicts that they will leave in free agency, leaving the Bears to focus on other priorities, such as offensive linemen James Daniels. If Robinson and Hicks do depart, they will leave Chicago with plenty of cap space to work with, but also a significant number of additions needing to be made to rebound from 2021’s disappointing performance.

Allen Robinson, Bears Won’t Agree On Extension

It’s been trending this way for a while, but now it’s more or less official. The Bears and receiver Allen Robinson are not expected to agree to an extension, sources told Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter link).

As a franchise-tagged player, Robinson had until July 15th to work out a long-term deal with Chicago or decide to play 2021 under the tag. It appears he’ll go with the latter option, which will pay him about $17.9MM for the upcoming season. We just heard safety Marcus Maye won’t be inking a new contract with the Jets, which leaves five other tagged players up in the air.

We’ve still yet to hear for sure about Bucs receiver Chris Godwin, Panthers tackle Taylor Moton, Washington guard Brandon Scherff, Saints safety Marcus Williams, or Jaguars tackle Cam Robinson. We haven’t heard much at all about Scherff, Williams, or Robinson. As of a couple weeks ago the Panthers were hoping to extend Moton, while we heard just this past week Tampa wasn’t particularly close with Godwin

Robinson and the Bears have been at a stalemate for most of the past year, outside of last September when it briefly looked like things were headed in the right direction. There were rumors of a possible tag and trade this offseason, but nothing materialized.

Robinson opted to attend mandatory minicamp, and appears content to play this season out. He’s often been the lone bright spot on a struggling Bears offense the past couple seasons, and has proven to be immune to poor quarterback play. Despite last year’s anemic passing game and the shuffling between Nick Foles and Mitchell Trubisky, the Penn State product still finished with 102 catches for 1,250 yards and six touchdowns.

Now that an extension is off the table, the only question left to be settled is if it’ll be Justin Fields or Andy Dalton throwing him the ball in 2021.

Allen Robinson, Bears ‘Unlikely’ To Agree On Extension Before Deadline

The deadline for franchise-tagged players to sign long-term deals is rapidly approaching, with next Thursday July 15th being the cut-off.

There are seven tagged players left without contracts, and it sounds like it’s safe to say at least one of them won’t be getting one. The Bears and star receiver Allen Robinson have had “no substantive talks” in recent months, Tom Pelissero of NFL Network reports, via Kevin Patra of NFL.com. Pelissero added that it “seems unlikely a long-term deal will get done.”

Speaking a couple of weeks ago Robinson didn’t sound overly optimistic, saying “we’ll see” about the possibility of an agreement, so this isn’t too shocking. The two sides have been at a stalemate for most of the past year, outside of last September when it briefly looked like things were headed in the right direction. 

Things quickly soured again, and there were reports that Chicago might look to trade him this offseason. It appears he will play for the Bears in 2021, but without any long-term guarantees. The Penn State product did show up for last month’s mandatory minicamp, so he isn’t too disgruntled.

Perhaps the $17.9MM he’s set to earn this season is keeping him from getting too negative. Robinson has been the lone bright spot on a struggling Bears offense the past couple seasons, and should put up big numbers once again whether it’s Justin Fields or Andy Dalton throwing him the ball. He had 102 catches for 1,250 yards and six touchdowns in 2020,.

Status Of 7 Remaining Franchise-Tagged Players

Ten players comprised this year’s franchise tag contingent — down from 14 in 2020. However, the Broncos, Cowboys and Giants reached extension agreements with their tagged players — Justin Simmons, Dak Prescott and Leonard Williams, respectively — to leave seven tag recipients unsigned entering July.

With the July 15 deadline to extend franchise-tagged players less than two weeks away, here is where things stand with the remaining members of the group:

WR Chris Godwin, Buccaneers

Rather than tag Shaquil Barrett for a second straight year, the Bucs cuffed Godwin at $15.9MM. The defending Super Bowl champions found room for Barrett and every other notable free agent they had this offseason, going into overdrive in their effort to defend their second championship. Like every other franchise-tagged player this year, Godwin has signed his tender. The former third-round pick has said he wants to stay in Tampa long-term. The Bucs have Mike Evans signed to a now-below-market deal ($16.5MM per year), so it will be interesting to see how they navigate negotiations with his less accomplished (but three years younger, at 25) sidekick.

S Marcus Maye, Jets

Tagged months after the Jets traded Jamal Adams, Maye has not exactly enjoyed a smooth negotiating process. Just before the Jets tagged Maye, his agent slammed the team for a lackluster effort to extend the four-year starter beforehand. The Jets have carried on negotiations since applying the tag and are believed to have been steadfast in this approach, but this has not necessarily translated to progress. These talks are expected to go down to the wire. Maye, 28, not signing an extension by July 15 would keep the Mike Maccagnan-era draft choice on the $10.6MM tag.

OT Taylor Moton, Panthers

While the Panthers’ left tackle position has been one of the toughest to fill over the past decade, Moton has locked down the team’s right tackle post. A 2017 second-round pick, Moton has not missed a game since debuting in Carolina’s lineup in Week 1 of the 2018 season. The Panthers have a new regime in place, but the Matt RhuleScott Fitterer duo hopes to extend Moton.

The right tackle market moved this week, with Ryan Ramczyk agreeing to a $19.2MM-per-year extension. Moton, 26, is not a candidate to top that, but he may be primed to fill the gap between the top tier (Ramczyk and $18MM-AAV Lane Johnson) and Jack Conklin‘s $14MM-AAV deal. Moton is attached to a $13.8MM franchise tender.

WR Allen Robinson, Bears

Tagged at a higher price ($17.98MM) than Godwin because of his previous contract, Robinson has been the Bears’ No. 1 option on offense for the past three years. This has not translated to harmony between he and the team. Robinson has expressed frustration with the Bears’ tactics during his lengthy extension talks, which date back to last year, and he at one point surfaced in trade rumors.

This will be the eighth-year veteran’s age-28 season. A long-term Robinson deal would pair well with Justin Fields‘ rookie contract, with no other Bears receiver making even midlevel money, but the former third-round pick did not sound especially confident a deal will be finalized by the deadline.

OT Cam Robinson, Jaguars

This might be the closest to a “prove it” tag in this year’s lot. The former second-round pick has recovered from the ACL tear that cost him 14 games in 2018, starting 30 over the past two seasons. But Robinson, 25, has yet to show he is among the better players at the left tackle position. Without a viable replacement lined up, the Jaguars tagged the Alabama alum at $13.8MM. It would make sense for the Urban Meyer regime to gauge Robinson’s contract-year performance and reassess the matter next year. Holding the most cap space in the NFL ($38MM), the Jags can afford to carry Robinson’s tag figure this season.

G Brandon Scherff, Washington

Washington and its top offensive lineman have been at this for a while. A 2015 first-round pick, Scherff has been eligible for an extension since the 2017 season ended. Instead, Washington has seen another tag situation near the point of no return. The four-time Pro Bowl guard has played on the fifth-year option and the franchise tag, pushing this year’s tag price to $18MM. A third tag is unrealistic, as the Kirk Cousins standoff showed, and no deal this month would push Scherff toward free agency in 2022. The team wants to extend the 29-year-old blocker, but it will almost certainly take a guard-record agreement to do so. Joe Thuney raised the position’s ceiling with a $16MM-AAV deal in March.

S Marcus Williams, Saints

The Saints’ salary cap tightrope walk included a $10.6MM Williams tag, completing an odyssey that began with the team $100MM-plus over this year’s reduced cap. With New Orleans already doing the rare fifth-year option restructure with Marshon Lattimore, a Williams extension would be the easiest way to create more cap room. The team checked the top item off its offeseason to-do list, the Ramcyzk extension, but it may well have either a Lattimore or Williams re-up in its near-future plans.

Part of New Orleans’ impact 2017 draft class, the 24-year-old safety has been a starter from Day 1. Even though Lattimore may be a higher extension priority, the team coming all the way back from $100MM over the cap to use a franchise tag illustrates its view of Williams’ work.