The New England Patriots now have 89 men on the 90-man roster after signing UDFA CB Justin Green yesterday, and the 90th man on the roster could end up being a wide receiver. A couple of days ago, the Patriots decided to part ways with 25-year-old wideout Donald Jones, who was signed to a three-year deal early in free agency. Apparently Jones had a rough time learning the playbook, and the Pats knew beforehand that they wouldn’t need to keep the former Buffalo Bills receiver on the roster. Instead of paying him a $200,000 bonus for showing up to training camp, the Patriots cut Jones with the main logic being to give rookies like Aaron Dobson, Josh Boyce, and, especially, Cincinnati UDFA Kenbrell Thompkins more snaps. The Patriots also promptly signed longshot UDFAs Perez Ashford and Quentin Sims to contracts.
Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Laurent Robinson (81) on the sidelines against the Houston Texans in overtime at Reliant Stadium. The Texans defeated the Jaguars 43-37. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
Now, ESPN New York’s Rich Cimini reports that the New England Patriots and Detroit Lions will work out former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Laurent Robinson after he visited with the wide receiver-needy New York Jets today. The Jets will also work out Austin Collie today, and Collie was worked out by the Patriots earlier this offseason.
Robinson doesn’t have the magnitude of concussion worries that Collie does, but his career has also been derailed by concussions significantly recently after suffering from four concussions last season. The Jacksonville Jaguars released him because of that, but Robinson has declared himself symptom free and has always aimed at playing this year (he almost went back to the Dallas Cowboys).
If the Patriots sign Robinson and can get the 28-year-old back to his pre-concussion form, then they will be getting a steal and the kind of receiver that Tom Brady and this offense could really use. Robinson averaged about 16 yards per reception for 858 yards on 54 catches back in 2011 for the Cowboys, and that type of playmaking ability would be key for the Patriots. That’s not even mentioning the fact that Robinson is a huge red zone threat, as he hauled in 11 touchdowns that year. Aaron Dobson has a world of potential and other young receivers like Josh Boyce do as well, but it never hurts to add a veteran who has done it before, even if he is injury prone. Like Jones, Robinson would have no guaranteed money. Unlike Jones, Robinson would come cheaper, but he would also have a deal that is perfect for injury-prone players and contains incentives that don’t have to do with attending training camp.
I like the move to work out Laurent Robinson, and he’ll be the 90th man and a good resurrection attempt for the Patriots to make. If signed, Robinson would have a good chance of making the Pats roster and being a legitimate factor, but he will have to prove himself healthy and effective; health is the first step.