Eagles nearly landed different top WR this offseason: report originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia
The Eagles' NFL Draft night trade for A.J. Brown was a high-stakes shocker from Howie Roseman that electrified the fanbase and has football analysts everywhere high on the Birds heading into the 2022 regular season.
But if it weren't for a phone call from the Los Angeles Rams on March 16, the 2022 Eagles offense would look a bit different.
When free agency began March 16, the Eagles were reportedly in the market on a bunch of different players. One of those players? Allen Robinson, who ESPN's Jeremy Fowler reported was believed to be on the Birds' radar.
After Robinson signed with the reigning Super Bowl champs, we never got full information on just how much reciprocal interest was there between the two sides. After the Brown trade, no one really cared.
But it turns out there was some significant interest in both directions after all.
In a story published Thursday by The Athletic's Jourdan Rodrigue, new details emerged about Robinson's path to the Rams that will intrigue Eagles fans:
"McVay flipped through a few texts on his phone. On and off that spring, he, Stafford and Kupp had talked about free-agent receiver Allen Robinson, marveling at what they felt others couldn’t see: that Robinson, for all of his reputation as a high-point, contested catch receiver, was incredibly versatile.
"Late that Wednesday night, the Rams called Robinson. He was deep in talks with the Eagles, two sources told The Athletic, but the Rams asked him to postpone his final decision long enough to get on a video call with McVay and Stafford. The coach and quarterback showed Robinson clips of Beckham that they had hustled to put together for the occasion showing how the passing offense eventually evolved around him and Kupp.
"Only a couple of hours after their initial call, Robinson told the Rams he was in."
Eagles fans seemed pretty high on the idea of adding Robinson around free agency time, but now they're thrilled with having Brown under contract for five years. I don't think anyone would ask for a do-over, but it's certainly a fascinating what-if.
Robinson is coming off a disappointing season with a dysfunctional Bears offense, but he's just one year removed from a 102 reception, 1,250 yard, 6 TD campaign in 2020. Meanwhile Brown averaged 62 catches, 998 yards, and 8 TD over his first three seasons in a run-first Tennessee offense. They're both great players.
Brown, who is 25 years old, signed a 4-year, $100 million extension after being traded to the Eagles. Robinson signed a 3-year, $45 million deal with the Rams. Brown is significantly younger, and also significantly more expensive.
Taking everything into account - skill level, age, price, and fit in terms of the Eagles' window - I think I'm perfectly happy with Brown instead of Robinson. I really like Robinson, but the idea of having Brown from age 25 to age 29 as the Birds seem positioned to be contenders for the next half-decade is just perfect.
It will certainly be fun, however, to track the two wideouts over the next few years and see what could've been.