The Steelers are now in their offseason after failing to reach the playoffs in 2022, coming up just a game short of sneaking in as the seventh seed. They needed help in week 18 and only got some of it, so instead they sat home and watched the playoffs with the rest of us.
On tap is figuring out how to be on the field in January and February instead of being a spectator. They started out 2-6, digging a hole that proved too deep to dig out of even if they managed to go 7-2 in the second half of the year.
Starting from the end of the regular season and leading all the way up to the beginning of the 2023 season, there are plenty of questions that need answered, starting with who will be the offensive coordinator. Which free agents will be kept? Who might be let go due to their salary? How might they tackle free agency with this new front office? We’ll try to frame the conversation in relevant ways as long as you stick with us throughout this offseason, as we have for many years.
Question: How valuable will Allen Robinson II be off the field for the Steelers’ young offense?
The Steelers typically go for the young, up-and-coming players via outside offseason additions. They’ve made some exceptions this year with, for example, cornerback Patrick Peterson, and more recently wide receiver Allen Robinson II, both former Pro Bowlers.
In Peterson’s case, he’s been open about where he is at this point in his career, and while he said that nobody has directly told him that they expect him to be a mentor to younger defensive backs, that’s something that he does anyway.
Nobody has expressly said that about Allen Robinson, either, but there’s a reason the Steelers decided to target a veteran in a wide receiver group that skews on the somewhat young side. Even Diontae Johnson only has four seasons under his belt at this point, and George Pickens and Calvin Austin III are going into just year two.
Though a Michigan native, Robinson did go to Penn State, so he has some connection to the area, and thus perhaps some extra motivation to leave a good impression. I’ll admit I don’t know a great deal about Robinson’s experience in the league, but I’ve read that he’s considered a good locker room guy, including by the media, and he was credited with mentoring Bears wide receiver Darnell Mooney, a fifth-round pick who had a 1000-yard season in 2021.
Now, the Steelers traded for Robinson because they expect him to ball. He’s not here to be another coach or a guidance counselor. But that doesn’t mean he can’t serve multiple roles—or that that’s not what the Steelers were hoping for when they targeted him—having reportedly also been interested in him last year as a free agent—and in the pre-draft process back in 2014.