The New York Giants made a statement on Day 1 of the free agency period by replenishing their needs on defense. Yet, one more signing was needed to really bring the renovation full circle.
Big Blue shopped within the division signing former Redskins middle linebacker Keenan Robinson to a one-year, $2.6 million contract. A fourth round pick by Washington Redskins back in 2012, Robinson’s career has been full of ups and downs to this point, and he will look to deem himself worthy of a starting role in 2016.
Drafted out of the University of Texas, Robinson showed flashes of a quality starter while in Washington. In his 2014 campaign, he finished with 71 solo tackles and 38 assists for a combined 109 tackles. Standing at 6-foot-3, 238 pounds, Robinson has an athletic build that allows him to drop back into coverage effectively, an area that the Giants desperately needed last season.
This production, though, has come when the linebacker has been healthy. Robinson has not played a full 16-game season as he has struggled with various injuries. He didn’t see the field for the entire 2013 season with a torn pectoral muscle as well as missing time with labrum, bicep and rotator cuff problems last season. In total, Robinson has missed 28 games in his four seasons in the NFL, which is a scary statistic.
The linebacker has tried to play through these injuries, and as a result, his production on the field took a hit. Last season, Robinson played 12 games accumulating a mediocre 63 tackles. He missed many solo opportunities and was eventually benched and replaced by Will Compton. An injury plagued tenure with the Redskins left Robinson to the free agency block.
The looming question now is can Robinson be the middle linebacker that the Giants desperately need?
When healthy, the answer to that question is yes. Linebacker Uani Unga at one point last season led the Giants in tackles mainly because he was thrown to when dropping back into coverage. Robinson is dynamic in that he has the ability to drop back while also providing excellent rush defense.
If he continues on his injury-laden path, though, the signing could be a bust. One would think after the injury fiascos last season, GM Jerry Reese and his team wouldn’t sign Robinson if he weren’t fully healthy. However, his past injuries have come back to haunt him.
Robinson is a high-risk, high-reward signing that will be intriguing to watch as the 2016 season gets underway.