The Rams’ misjudgment of receiver Allen Robinson came at a price. A large.
On Friday, the Pittsburgh Steelers officially acquired Robinson in a deal that essentially amounted to the Rams paying them to take the veteran off their hands after just one season.
In a deal that’s been in the works since Tuesday, the Rams and Steelers traded seventh-round picks in next week’s NFL draft — the Rams now have No. 234 pick, the Steelers have No. 251 — but the Rams agreed, about 10 Millions of the $15 million are owed to Robinson under the three-year contract he signed with the Rams ahead of the 2022 season.
The Steelers reportedly revised Robinson’s contract, but the Rams’ contribution was unaffected.
It will likely be the last team-initiated exit of a high-profile player since the Rams’ disastrous 5-12 finish. Robinson joined linebacker Bobby Wagner, edge rusher Leonard Floyd and star cornerback Jalen Ramsey among those released or traded. The Rams have also run more than a dozen free agents.
It’s all part of the Rams’ sudden austerity plan, which is usually high-spending and aims to create $55 million to $65 million in salary caps for the 2024 season.
Receiver Cooper Kupp, who will wear a $27 million salary cap this season, defensive lineman Aaron Donald ($26 million) and quarterback Matthew Stafford ($20 million) remain the most expensive players in the Rams .
Robinson’s statistical performance fell far short of the Rams’ expectations. Coach Sean McVay and general manager Les Snead viewed Robinson as an upgrade over Robert Woods, who was traded to the Tennessee Titans shortly after Robinson was signed.
But Robinson caught just 33 passes for 339 yards and three touchdowns before suffering a foot injury that sidelined him in the last seven games.
It wasn’t entirely Robinson’s fault.
The three-time 1,000-yard receiver never had a chance to develop a relationship with Stafford, who didn’t throw passes during off-season practice or during part of training camp because of a right elbow condition.
Robinson’s departure came as no surprise. After the season, the Rams gave him permission to seek a trade. Terms were agreed by Tuesday pending a physical exam, which Robinson underwent on Wednesday.
The Rams will play Robinson this season when they meet the Steelers at SoFi Stadium.
Woods, who was released by the Titans in February, signed with the Houston Texans. Odell Beckham Jr., who did not play last season after suffering a knee injury in the Rams’ Super Bowl LVI win, recently signed with the Baltimore Ravens.
So the Rams will likely be in the receiver market in draft and maybe during training camp. The Rams have 11 picks in the draft, but none in the first round.
They have one second-round pick (#36), two third-round picks (#69 and 77), three in fifth-round (#167, 171, and 177), three in sixth-round (#182, 189). and 191) and two in the seventh (Nos. 223 and 234).
Kupp, who turns 30 in June, was the 2021 NFL Offensive Player of the Year but he will have ankle surgery after playing just nine games last season.
Receiver Van Jefferson, a 2020 second-round pick, is in the final year of his contract. A second-round pick in 2021, Tutu Atwell showed promise last season after a disappointing rookie year.
Ben Skowronek, a seven-round pick in 2021, caught 39 passes last season and also played at full-back.
Sophomore Lance McCutcheon played in 10 games last season, mostly on special teams. He had five goals but didn’t catch a pass.