Allen Robinson has had a historic season—and a torn ACL. Now he'll be the most coveted free agent wide receiver
Before the franchise tag deadline Tuesday, Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell, Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence, Rams safety Lamarcus Joyner and Bears cornerback Kyle Fuller were all locked up by their respective teams. (Fuller received a transition tag, meaning he can field other offers but Chicago can opt to match any of them.) They join Lions defensive end Ezekiel Ansah and Dolphins wide receiver Jarvis Landry, whose tags were previously announced. Conor Orr has the full breakdown on those decisions, so let's focus on one guy who didn't make that list and therefore could be coming to a team near you.
Since 2000, three wide receivers have tallied 1,400 yards and 12 touchdowns in a season before turning 24—Randy Moss, Odell Beckham Jr., and soon-to-be free agent Allen Robinson. Why are the Jaguars possibly willing to let Robinson go? Well he came back to earth after that dominant 2015 season, posting 883 yards in '16, and he missed almost all of last year with a torn ACL. Expect teams to look past those flaws because this year’s wideout crop is thin. In addition to Robinson, Sammy Watkins will also be highly sought after now that the Rams opted to tag Joyner instead of him, and Landry is a trade target, but otherwise, the pickings are slim.
There's also an easy comparison for Robinson as teams consider what kind of contract offer to make. Alshon Jeffery hit free agency a year ago with only two 16-game seasons under his belt. Jeffrey signed a one-year, $14 million deal with the Eagles then re-signed with Philadelphia in December for $52 million more. Robinson, still only 24 years old, could play himself into a similarly big deal while the Jaguars wonder how they let him get away.
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NOW ON THE MMQB: Conor Orr considers how fans, the media, and GMs might perceive the combine differently ... Andrew Brandt surveys important business of football developments ... Robert Klemko opines about Lamar Jackson by looking at Connor Shaw, Jeff Driskel, and Chad Kelly ... and more.
WHAT YOU MAY HAVE MISSED: Steve Rushin described Ed Hochuli's rise ... Bruce Feldman (no relation, I think) compiled notable notes from the combine ... Tim Rohan pieced together Jonathan Martin's post-football life ... and more.
1. Ed Hochuli, 67, is retiring following a 28-year run as an NFL official. The second-longest tenured ref worked two Super Bowls. His son, Shawn Hochuli, was promoted from back judge to replace him.
2. The anthem protest debate flared up again after Dolphins owner Stephen Ross was quoted as saying "all of our players will be standing" in the New York Daily News. Tuesday, he said, "I have no intention of forcing our players to stand during the anthem and I regret that my comments have been misconstrued." He went on to say, "I care passionately that the message of social justice resonates far and wide and I will continue to support and fund efforts for those who fight for equality for all." The raw audio of the initial comments can be found here, if you're curious.
3. Jerry Jones and Roger Goodell reportedly met for an hour in Palm Beach, Fla., regarding the Cowboys owner’s financial obligation to the league for the legal fees it racked up regarding cases that involved Jones and his team. No decision has been announced.
4. Sober for 400 days and 30 pounds lighter than he once was, 25-year-old tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins is one of the more intriguing free agents in this year's class.
5. Former Raiders linebacker Aldon Smith turned himself in after a warrant went out for his arrest regarding domestic violence. "He's an alcoholic," a source told TMZ Sports. "It's not about football anymore. We're hoping this is rock bottom for him."
6. Muhammad Wilkerson will visit the Packers first as the defensive lineman weighs his free agency options and considers reconnecting with Mike Pettine, who is now Green Bay's defensive coordinator but previously led the Jets' D.
7. Saints owner Tom Benson, 90, has now been hospitalized for three weeks, but the team put out a statement Tuesday that he has shown signs of improvement after originally saying he had flu-like symptoms.
8. The Panthers agreed to a $17 million deal with their kicker, Graham Gano. That's an early sign that this year's free agency period could be a player's market.
10. Eagles linebacker Mychal Kendricks is preparing to try his hand at announcing ... hockey.
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