The top priority for the Washington Redskins is to resign quarterback Kirk Cousins. Deservingly so, Cousins threw for 4,166 yards—Redskins’ single season passing record for a quarterback. Cousins showed his worth and should be up for a big payday, however there is another player/free agent that the Redskins should prioritize and bring back.
Inside linebacker Keenan Robinson was benched due to injury and good play by inside linebackers Will Compton and Mason Foster. Fans and experts were enamored with the fine play of Foster and Compton and have forgotten about the talent Robinson possesses. This season in only 12 games, eight as a starter, Robinson totaled 63 tackles compared to 109 tackles in 13 games as a starter last season. Many observers looked at Robinson as a rising star in his 2014 campaign. In 2014, Washington Post sports writer Elliot Smith said “Keenan Robinson is a find at middle linebacker.” Maurice Barksdale from Riggo’s Rag (www.riggosrag.com) said “Robinson’s play [is] approaching pro bowl level.” Finally, Tarik EL-Bashir from Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic said “Robinson’s combination of size (6’3, 238), athleticism and instincts figure to make him [a] starter in middle of the Redskins’ defense for years to come.”
At the age of 26, he still has the opportunity to be one of the better inside linebackers in game. For an inside linebacker Robinson has excellent sideline to sideline speed, good tackler, and a smart player. When you look at today’s top level defenses you see star inside linebackers with exceptional sideline to sideline speed. The Carolina Panthers have Luke Kuechly, the Minnesota Vikings Eric Kendrick, and Seattle Seahawks Bobby Wagner. The Redskins must be careful on how they handle the free agent Robinson. The Redskins should appreciate the work that Compton and Foster showed during their run to the postseason but they shouldn’t ignore the more talented guy who happens to be a free agent.
A healthy Robinson potentially could be a pro bowl inside linebacker. Redskins’ tight end Jordan Reed had a similar problem. He also couldn’t stay healthy. Matter of fact tight end Niles Paul was over Reed within the Redskins’ depth chart due to the fact that Reed was nursing an injury during camp. Paul got hurt and Reed was able to put together one of the best seasons for a Redskins’ tight end (87 receptions, 952 receiving yards, and 11 touchdowns). Reed is more talented tight end than Paul and he got to show it. Hopefully the Redskins don’t make the mistake of putting more value in Compton and Foster than Robinson.
The blessing for the Redskins is that Robinson likes being in the Washington, DC area. Robinson stated “that the team believed in [him] and trusted [him] when [he] had injuries back early in [his] career.” The Redskins put faith in him in 2014; hopefully that continues in the offseason of 2016. Only time will tell.