Free-agent wide receiver Allen Robinson is now either ‘Trevor Bauer lite’ or he really wants to play for the New York Jets.
The only thing left for Allen Robinson is to drive to Northern New Jersey and set up his favorite tent on 1 Jets Drive. Bring plenty of canned goods, a sleeping bag and camp on the concrete until free agency officially commences.
That is unless he’s Trevor Bauer lite—as in the lite version to the real thing.
You remember Bauer, that guy, the slithering individual who went as far as to sell New York Mets-related merchandise while negotiating on the open market, only to sign with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Engaging a fanbase on social media can help push market value. I mean, why not? Hype up a fanbase as much as possible in order to keep the pressure on ownership to sign the guy. There’s no fanbase better suited to help a free agent’s place on the market than New York, and Bauer’s business team knew it.
(This will be a dangerous new strategy for free agents and sports agents moving forward in his brave new social media world, by the way.)
Robinson has a long way to go before full-Bauer status, but if he is heading down that road—and there’s no reason to think that is the case—the Atlantic Health Training Center is the last place the Detroit, MI native would want to be. For now, his “reaching for the Jets” mindset has to be considered as obvious as Quinnen Williams‘s jovial sense of humor.
Robinson unleashed a flurry of New York Jets-related Twitter likes Tuesday night that oozed a not-so-subtle vibe.
The following tweets are those Robinson “liked” on Twitter:
— uSTADIUM (@uSTADIUM) March 3, 2021
Darnold and pick 34 and we have a deal….
— B (@BShulkes) March 3, 2021
— JD 🐐(Clint Frazier Stan) (@jd_5BD) March 3, 2021
The Jets could have $80M in cap space or more by the time free agency begins. They have 5 first round picks over the next 3 drafts, tied with the Lions for the most.
Any player available – be it free agency or a trade – the Jets have the resources to try and acquire him. https://t.co/9rhU6WS1n3
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) March 3, 2021
Again, not too subtle. Nobody strings together that many likes without wanting to play for that team or having a wicked plan up his sleeve.
— Michael Nania (@Michael_Nania) March 3, 2021
Robinson, 27, has now done the following in one day:
- Told the world that he prefers a big market.
- That he trains in New York during the offseason.
- Liked a tweet suggesting the Bears tag him and trade him to the Jets for Sam Darnold.
- Liked a tweet suggesting the Jets trade Darnold and the No. 34 pick for his services.
- Liked a tweet with photos of him, Deshaun Watson and Robert Saleh all in Jets gear.
- Liked a tweet outlining how much money the Jets have in cap space.
The specificity of the man’s likes combined with his words is no accident. Albeit not to the Bauer level, Robinson has officially engaged an entire fanbase.
He enters free agency as one of the top wide receiver options on the market (if not the top weapon). New York’s need for another weapon has been well-documented, which is part of the reason the two sides have been linked since the 2020 season concluded.
Drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the second round of the 2014 NFL draft, Robinson burst onto the scene with 1,400 and 14 touchdowns on 80 catches in his sophomore NFL campaign.
After an ACL tear that cost him 15 games in 2017, he signed a three-year deal with the Chicago Bears prior to 2018. The Penn State product has cemented himself as one of the league’s top outside and one-on-one threats in Chicago over the last two seasons.
Interestingly, the “liking” of the aforementioned tweets coincided with a recent appearance on The Cris Collinsworth Podcast featuring Richard Sherman. There, Robinson explained that playing in a big market overwhelms the idea of losing out in the tax game.
— Robby Sabo (@RobbySabo) March 3, 2021
“When I first got off the flight, and I started going around in Chicago, I was like, ‘Wow, this is a huge market,'” Robinson said. “They love the Bears, there’s a ton of energy, [it’s] a sports city, and I’m assuming New York is very similar to that, you know when it comes to the Jets and Giants, and just being in the Big Apple.”
Oh yeah, and it’s not as though he’s unfamiliar with New York.
“That’s where I train anyway in the offseason,” Robinson added. “So, I’m up there a lot so I already kind of see it and feel it from a big city aspect. That’s a part of it that could kind of offset the taxes and stuff like that a little bit.”
Somewhere, Captain Obvious is looking over his shoulder via job security.
Joe Douglas and the Jets cleared $8.5 million in cap space when they released Henry Anderson Tuesday evening. While the quarterback conversation drives the offseason, what the Jets do at wide receiver remains critical.
A Robinson-Jets marriage is obviously far from a guaranteed notion. It’s possible Robinson ends up elsewhere in spite of having the Jets near the top of his preferred destinations.
Many end-results are still possible, even one that sees the Chicago Bears retain his services. But at this point, with this level of engagement, Allen Robinson either really wants to either play for the New York Jets or he’s taking a “social media free-agent strategy” road that’ll become more popular as time marches forward.
My money is on the innocent explanation.