Steelers would be fools to close the door on Allen Robinson

Maybe Pittsburgh had better take a closer look at what Allen Robinson provides before moving on.

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Allen Robinson II (11)
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Allen Robinson II (11) / Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
facebooktwitterreddit

We are in the thick of the offseason right now, and as the coaching carousel wraps up, franchise tags and cap casualties are on the horizon. For the Steelers, who are projected to be over the salary cap, one of the easiest linked names to getting cut seems to be Allen Robinson. This makes sense given his 10 million dollar salary heading into the new league year.

With how this offseason has progressed though, I am firmly pumping the breaks on cutting Robinson outright. Some will see this as nonsensical. Robinson was mostly a nonfactor for this offense out of the slot, and he is scheduled to count for nearly 12 million dollars against the cap.

No, Robinson can not and should not return if he is unwilling to reduce his salary to basically the minimum for his age. While contrary to what most fans want, if he were willing to accommodate and reduce that salary, then the door needs to be opened for a reunion. Frankly, I think he fits what this offense wants to do really well.

The Steelers are building a physical offense

Despite what many fans wanted, the Steelers are opting to try and remain counter to what the league is doing on offense. Instead of a high-flying passing game, the focus seems to be once again on the ground game setting the tone for the offense. This seems evident with the choice of Arthur Smith as offensive coordinator.

In line with this philosophy, the Steelers will likely be using more of a fullback in their offense as well as multi-tight end sets. This will dramatically decrease the value of a slot receiver for this team, as snaps at the position will decrease. Frankly, any free-agent slot receiver should be weary of signing with Pittsburgh.

You can draft someone to fill that role, but the receiver class is better at either outside spot. As well, using a day-two pick for a slot receiver when that role is likely to decrease is once again a hard sell. There are so many needs, that just seem like a waste. Why try to find a fit in this offense when you already have one in Robinson?

Allen Robinson is the slot receiver the Steelers want and need.

After three really poor seasons and now entering his age 31 season, Robinson has to realize that his value is likely at an all-time low. While he will likely land a contract somewhere, it won’t be for much more than the minimum. Instead of taking his chances, he can try to plant some roots with the Steelers and find a role in this offense.

Frankly, he is perfect for what this team will want there. He has the size and physicality to block and can make the possession catches to move the chains. It won’t be flashy, but it is a role that serves him well at this point in the season. With the shift to more two-receiver sets, he can also serve as a reserve outside option given his experience on the outside earlier in his career.

One has to think that the Steelers are hopeful for a reunion as well. They already made an initial wave of roster cuts, so if Robinson had been pegged for the scrap heap, he likely would have been cut. Instead, a pay cut could, and should, be on the horizon.

This would be pretty simple. He has a bonus attached to his name for 1.9175 million dollars that will count towards the cap even if he is cut. What needs to be reduced is his salary, currently set at 10 million. Given his lack of leverage, I would take that number down to or close to the minimum, let's say 1.5 million dollars. That provides the team with 8.5 million in relief and Robinson a chance to compete for the roster.

Why would Robinson accept a deal like that? While he could try his hand in free agency, this class has a few intriguing names in it that will keep his value down. This upcoming draft class will also feature a deep receiver group, so veteran receivers will likely be facing an uphill battle.

Next. Grading the Steelers 2023 class: Strong results across the board. Grading the Steelers 2023 class: Strong results across the board. dark

He knows this team and knows he has a clear role to fill. It isn’t a flashy one, but it will likely lead to him getting at least one more year's worth of pay in the NFL. The Steelers don’t have to prioritize a slot receiver and can still add a viable outside option. Assuming he agrees to a pay cut, there is little reason not to keep Robinson around for next season.