ESPN Hands Out Passing Grade For Steelers In Allen Robinson Trade

It was a rather surprising move the Pittsburgh Steelers made on Tuesday, trading for former Pro Bowl wide receiver Allen Robinson to shore up the depth chart at the receiver position in the Steel City.

Surprising in the sense that Robinson really wasn’t on the radar as a potential trade acquisition, and surprising in the very cheap cost it took to acquire him. In the end, the Steelers landed an experienced, versatile piece for the receiver room that will help not only solidify the depth chart at the position in Pittsburgh, but help quarterback Kenny Pickett continue to develop in his second season at the helm.

On paper, it was a sound trade for the Steelers. ESPN’s Seth Walder seemed to agree, handing out a B- grade to the Steelers for the Robinson move, though he does believe the franchise might have been better suited spending the $5 million on a younger, potentially better piece in free agency.

“Robinson averaged a mere 0.95 yards per route run last season — which ranked 91st out of 98 qualifying wide receivers and was worse than Shi Smith, Nick Westbrook-Ikhine and Parris Campbell. Robinson wasn’t great in 2021 with the Bears, either, at 1.3 yards per route run, meaning the soon-to-be 30-year-old is coming off back-to-back poor seasons,” Walder writes regarding some concerns with Robinson for “I don’t totally mind this for the Steelers because it’s so low risk, Robinson’s Receiver Tracking Metrics weren’t as dour on his 2022 performance (he ranked 47th out of 82 WRs in Overall Score) and having more receivers is a good thing, even with a nice combination of Diontae Johnson and George Pickens in front of him.

“But if I was going to spend $5ish million on a receiver this offseason I’d have preferred someone like Darius Slayton or Deonte Harty — younger players who have shown potential that could turn into assets.”

Robinson has certainly had his struggles the last two seasons, one spent with Los Angeles and his final season in Chicago in 2021. In those two seasons combined, Robinson — who was a Pro Bowl receiver in 2015 with the Jacksonville Jaguars with Blake Bortles as his quarterback — recorded 71 receptions for 749 yards and four touchdowns.

For a receiver his caliber, that would be a solid season, not two seasons combined.

As Walder writes, he’s had issues separating the last two seasons, but he also hasn’t played with quarterbacks that move the needle, outside of half a season with Matthew Stafford. In the last two seasons combined, Robinson has had to work with quarterbacks like Baker Mayfield, John Wolford, Bryce Perkins, Andy Dalton, Nick Foles and a developing Justin Fields.

That’s not exactly the best of the best.

Pickett shouldn’t be considered a great quarterback yet, but on paper he feels like a bit of an upgrade over all but Stafford as a passer of which Robinson has worked with.

Swapping seventh round picks and paying just $5 million for Robinson is a win for the Steelers. The grade could be a bit higher from Walder, but it’s understandable considering some of the concerns with Robinson’s play the last two seasons.

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