Editor’s Note: NESN.com will evaluate and analyze one potential Patriots free agent addition every day from Feb. 18 through the start of NFL free agency on March 12.
Dunta Robinson never really earned the six-year, $57 million contract the Falcons gave him back in 2010, and that’s why he’s back on the free-agent market just three seasons later. Just because Robinson was cast off in Atlanta doesn’t mean he’s wouldn’t fit in elsewhere – namely, New England.
It’s no great secret that the Patriots’ biggest weakness last season was in their secondary. Even the midseason addition of Aqib Talib didn’t solve their issues defending the pass, it merely masked them. Now, Bill Belichick and the front office must use this offseason, and their now $25 million of cap space, to address that problem.
Robinson likely won’t be anyone’s first, second, third or even fourth option at cornerback, but, after a few down seasons with the Falcons, his price tag should be a helluva lot more reasonable than players like Brent Grimes, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie or even Talib. That being said, the cap conscious Patriots could be looking for a low-cost solution to their problem, which would make Robinson among their best options.
Robinson isn’t exactly the shutdown corner the Patriots, and many other teams around the league, might desire. He isn’t much of a ball hawk, to use the ever-popular defensive back descriptor, intercepting just 17 passes over nine seasons and no more than two in any season since his rookie year of 2004. He’s not exactly the playmaker that Talib or Cromartie can be, but he is skilled in coverage and could even be a good replacement in the slot if Kyle Arrington doesn’t return.
The Patriots should be looking to fill their hole on the outside with one of the aforementioned playmakers, even if it means bringing Talib back on the franchise tag. But with the secondary needs about as glaring as a flare gun, Robinson seems like yet another alternative the team could turn to.
There is no saying the Patriots would even consider Robinson as a viable option in the secondary, but considering his recent release it’s at least worth the exploration.
Have a question for Luke Hughes? Send it to him via Twitter at @LukeFHughes or send it here.
Other free agent possibilities: Gosder Cherilus - Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie - Danny Amendola - Anthony Spencer - Anthony Fasano - Dwight Freeney - Brandon Moore