For this free agent signing by the Carolina Panthers, and all signings from this point forward, we will be breaking the move down into four categories. Each category is worth up to 25 points and a final grade will be handed out based on the total score. These are the definitions of each category:
Player- How has the player produced to this point in his career? Where does he rank among other players at his position?
Team Fit- How does he fit within the offensive or defensive scheme?
Team Need- Is this position a weak spot on the roster? Does this move strengthen the position?
Contract- Is this a reasonable contract based on production? Did the team over spend or did they get a steal?
Grade: 18 out of 25
Trenton Robinson was a sixth round pick by the San Francisco 49ers in the 2012 NFL Draft. After one season with 49ers, primarily on special teams, he was released prior to the 2013 season. He was then signed to the Philadelphia Eagles practice squad but a little over a month later he was released and then signed by the Washington Redskins.
During the remainder of the 2013 season and the 2014 season, Robinson contributed primarily on special teams but did play some safety in 2014. This past season Robinson got the chance to start after a wrist injury to Duke Ihenacho ended his season after the first week.
Robinson started the next seven games and finished with a career high in tackles with 52. However, his season was cut short due to a hamstring injury that forced him onto the injured reserve.
Grade: 22 out of 25
The defined safety roles in the Panthers' defense have become a little blurred over the years and this certainly benefits Robinson. At 5'9" and 195 pounds, Robinson was a free safety while at Michigan State and spent the majority of his career at that position. However, this past year he replaced Ihenacho as the strong safety in the Redskins' defense.
This experience for Robinson playing both safety position certainly will benefit him and his chances of making the final roster. This versatility plus his experience playing on special teams makes him an excellent fit for the Panthers.
Grade: 21 out of 25
The Panthers released one of their starting safeties, Roman Harper, shortly after Super Bowl 50. Prior to the Robinson signing, the team had six safeties on the roster however only two have experience starting at the position (Kurt Coleman and Tre Boston).
While the team already had six players seemingly vying for only four roster spots, the team could still use a little more experience at the position. While Boston has started, he has less than 10 starts in his career and a veteran like Robinson certainly helps solidify the position.
Grade: 24 out of 25
This once again is an excellent job by Dave Gettleman with a low-risk, high-reward type signing. While the financial terms have yet to be released, the Panthers and Robinson agreed to a one-year deal. This provides the Panthers with the flexibility to release him prior to the start of this season with little financial ramifications.
Grade: 85 out of 100
This is another under the radar type move that could pay significant dividends in 2016. Trenton Robinson is a player who has experience playing both safety positions, starting at strong safety, as well as being a strong contributor on special teams. This type of versatility is invaluable in building rosters and provides the Panthers' front office more flexibility in determining their final 53-man roster.