2018 NFL free agency: Why 49ers need to sign wide receiver Allen Robinson

The San Francisco 49ers are likely to add a No. 1 wide receiver to build around quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo during this upcoming offseason. Among the free agents set to hit the market soon, Allen Robinson should be a major target for the 49ers.

 

Jimmy Garoppolo needs a reliable target

While 49ers general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan are looking to address other team needs, adding another offensive weapon for quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is a priority.

San Francisco could draft a perimeter wideout during the 2018 NFL Draft. However, the 49ers already have a couple of young and promising receivers in Trent Taylor and Kendrick Bourne.

Signing a free-agent wide receiver is a viable option for the front office especially with San Francisco’s huge cap space. The 49ers are projected to have about $115 million in available cap space, which is the most in the league.

Lynch could potentially use most of that cap space on key free agents this year. And adding a top target for Garoppolo should improve San Francisco’s already emerging offensive unit even further.

This offseason will likely see a strong selection of wide receivers such as Sammy Watkins and Jarvis Landry in free agency. While these pending free agents are appealing, Jacksonville Jaguars wideout Allen Robinson would be an optimal choice for the 49ers.

 

What Allen Robinson brings to the table

Despite tearing his ACL during his first game of the 2017 season, Robinson remains as a threat to opposing teams. Robinson is also still in the middle of his prime as he will only turn 25 years old this year.

Although he suffered a devastating injury, Robinson recently uploaded videos of himself running and jumping. Barring any setbacks, it seems Robinson is on track to return on the field by the start of the 2018 regular season:

Two years prior to his injury, Robinson was selected to the Pro Bowl for his stellar, 1,400-yard season. Robinson also recorded 14 touchdowns, making him one of the top wide receivers of 2015.

The following year, however, saw Robinson’s numbers drop to 883 yards and six touchdowns.

If he decides to sign with San Francisco, Robinson will bring his incredible athleticism and speed to the team. Having a 6-foot-3 and 220-pound frame, Robinson would also be capable of snagging contested, 50-50 balls thrown at him.

Robinson is also an excellent route runner, a deep threat and an immediate red-zone target that Shanahan desperately lacks. The 49ers struggled in the red zone for most of the 2017 season and adding Robinson should address that need.

Inserting Robinson to San Francisco’s crop of receivers will result into a dynamic passing attack especially with Garoppolo under center. With his physical attributes, Robinson would bring consistency downfield and become a reliable target especially in the clutch.

Now that the 49ers have found their quarterback in Garoppolo, finding a true No. 1 receiver is a must, and Robinson may very well be the answer.

 

Why San Francisco is an excellent fit for Robinson

Although Robinson found success in Jacksonville with quarterback Blake Bortles, imagine his productivity with Garoppolo throwing him the ball.

Pro Football Focus ranked Garoppolo 10th highest out of all NFL quarterbacks in 2017, in comparison to Bortles’ No. 17 position:

Thus, Garoppolo would be a clear upgrade over Bortles considering that the 49ers quarterback is still progressing.

Robinson would also thrive under Shanahan’s innovative and high-octane offensive scheme. While it is one of the most complicated in the league, Shanahan’s offense is effective when smoothly executed.

With a high-caliber talent like Robinson added to the mix, San Francisco’s passing attack should become problematic for other teams come next season.

Despite the 49ers having veteran receiver Pierre Garçon and emerging speedster Marquise Goodwin on their receiving corps, the team could still use a top target for Garoppolo. Plugging a younger and healthy Robinson in the offense should help solve some of San Francisco’s problems, including red-zone production.

With the 49ers’ large cap space, San Francisco should be an attractive destination for a free-agent receiver like Robinson. If the 49ers decide to offer Robinson a multi-year contract with the right price, the team will likely acquire its much-needed No. 1 wide receiver of the future.

Once Robinson inks a deal with the 49ers, we could see a formidable Garoppolo-Robinson connection for many years. Especially with Shanahan orchestrating the offense, San Francisco’s passing attack should be even more exciting to watch.