JuJu Smith-Schuster should be an interesting name to monitor in the coming weeks.
After winning a Super Bowl during his first year with the Kansas City Chiefs, one might assume that the 26-year-old wide receiver would prefer to run things back with Patrick Mahomes II as his quarterback. At the same time, this could also be Smith-Schuster’s best opportunity to cash-in on his most productive season since his lone 1,000-yard campaign in 2018 — and a weak free agency class at the position almost ensures a great offer on the open market.
The impending free agent will most likely be presented with the age-old question in sports: Take the money and run, or prioritize situation, legacy and future earnings?
One thing’s for sure, if Smith-Schuster decides to walk in free agency, the Chiefs will need to replace him. A new emerging candidate to do so is Los Angeles Rams wideout Allen Robinson, who was granted permission to seek out a trade on March 6 according to NFL Network insider Tom Pelissero.
“The Rams have given WR Allen Robinson’s agents permission to seek a trade, and L.A. is willing to pay a portion of Robinson’s $15.25 million guaranteed salary to facilitate a deal, per sources,” Pelissero informed. “Robinson is still only 29. Another big-name veteran potentially leaving L.A.”
Chiefs Named as Top ‘Fit’ for Rams WR Allen Robinson via Trade
Shortly after the news broke that Robinson would be made available via trade, SB Nation’s James Dator labeled the Chiefs as one of the top potential destinations for A-Rob, calling him a “good fit.”
“If you’re a receiver looking to rehabilitate their career, there’s no better place than KC,” Dator reasoned. “On the surface, Robinson’s play style might not entirely mesh with the Chiefs’ offense, but this team is better skilled at adapting to talent than anyone in the NFL, as we saw when the team transitioned from Tyreek Hill to JuJu Smith-Schuster as their primary wideout.”
“As it stands, the Chiefs are currently working to re-sign both Smith-Schuster and Mecole Hardman, both of whom are free agents — [but] that’s easier said than done in a very soft market,” the NFL writer continued. “Both are prime candidates to get vastly overpaid based on their production, which opens up Robinson as a possibility.”
With deep-threat Marquez Valdes-Scantling and slot weapons Kadarius Toney and Skyy Moore as the main three wide receivers left under contract, adding a bigger body like Robinson actually does make some sense. That’s the role Smith-Schuster was playing next to Travis Kelce, only the former Pittsburgh Steeler is much better than the physical Rams WR at getting open in space.
As Dator mentioned, it’s not a perfect transition, but there are aspects that work and Robinson shouldn’t cost much in a deal. Coming off back-to-back miserable seasons after two 1,000-yard campaigns with the Chicago Bears in 2019 and 2020 (three on his career), it really comes down to how much of his contract Los Angeles would be willing to pay.
Dator concluded that “if you assume the Rams will pay part of 2023’s salary, and then the Chiefs restructure the remaining two years of Robinson’s contract, there’s a very real chance he could be had on the cheap, which buys Kansas City time to find long-term solutions in the draft.”
Super Bowl Contention Would Lure Allen Robinson to Chiefs
While it’s unclear if Kansas City would be interested in Robinson, it’s pretty safe to assume that the veteran wide receiver would be willing to join the Chiefs.
Back in 2022, he signed with the Rams because of the Super Bowl appeal — with LAR fresh off a championship run the season before. Things went horribly wrong for Los Angeles during their encore, however, for countless reasons including injuries to Matthew Stafford and Cooper Kupp on offense.
Still, based on that ring-hunting mentality, why wouldn’t Robinson be interested in the current NFL champions as the Rams appear ready to tear it all down?
After all, the Chiefs consistent track record speaks for itself. So long as head coach Andy Reid, Mahomes, Kelce and Chris Jones are all present, this team is a force to be reckoned with in the AFC.