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Pittsburgh Steelers

Robinson joins improving offense

The Steelers acquired Allen Robinson from the Rams yesterday. I don't think it's a particularly exciting acquisition; we've got two years of evidence to say it's over for the former star. But it's a cheap enough flier, and he's joining an offense that's headed in the right direction.

Pittsburgh gets him for less than a 7th-round pick; they basically move back half a round in the 7th, which is meaningless -- teams are probably looking at different players at that point anyway. And the Rams are paying the vast majority of his $15 million contract for 2023; just $5 million will be financed by Pittsburgh. That's not free, but it's a pretty small investment for an NFL team. The Rams are paying twice as much as Pittsburgh just to get him off their roster.

Robinson turns 30 this summer and has had two down years in a row. He was saddled with lousy quarterbacking his last year in Chicago and half of last year with the Rams, but he looked pretty bad even before the offense fell apart. I will not have Robinson on my list of sleepers this year, and am in no way concerned about the prospects of George Pickens and Diontae Johnson. Those guys are the top 2 wideouts, Robinson is at best the No. 3.

But I like the move for Pittsburgh as a relatively cheap investment in a once-great receiver who perhaps has another good year in him. And the Steelers themselves, though they had a bottom-10 offense in both yards and scoring a year ago, showed clear signs of being headed in the right direction.

Most notably, they had one of the league's most dramatic improvements in terms of scoring from the first half of the season to the second. Kenny Pickett settled in at quarterback, and Pickens also started to get more comfortable (plus the team shipped off Chase Claypool, giving the rookie more of an opportunity). However one wants to explain it, the offense had a nice uptick.

The first nine weeks of the season, Pittsburgh averaged 15 points per game. That was better than only Indianapolis. The last nine weeks of the season, the Steelers moved up to 21 points per game. That was 16th, so a 15-spot jump in the rankings. The improvement of just under 6 points per game was a top-5 number; only Green Bay, Dallas and San Francisco were better.

TEAM SCORING, 1ST HALF VS. 2ND HALF (2022)
TeamPts (1)Rk (1)Pts (2)Rk (2)Diff
Green Bay17.12727.089.9
Dallas22.914t31.618.7
San Francisco22.01930.428.4
Detroit23.51229.435.9
Pittsburgh15.03120.9165.9
Indianapolis14.73219.6205.0
Jacksonville22.11825.6103.5
Denver15.13018.4243.3
LA Rams16.42919.6213.2
Washington17.72620.3182.6
NY Giants20.42222.4142.1
Buffalo27.5329.441.9
Cincinnati25.3627.171.8
Minnesota24.1825.791.5
Carolina19.92321.0151.1
Tampa Bay18.02518.922.9
Houston16.62817.327.7
Las Vegas22.914t23.611.7
LA Chargers23.01323.012t.0
Philadelphia28.1228.06-.1
Miami23.71023.012t-.7
Tennessee18.62416.629-2.1
Kansas City30.4128.15-2.3
New England22.616t20.119-2.4
Chicago20.82117.426-3.4
Arizona22.616t17.128-5.4
Atlanta24.1918.523-5.6
Seattle26.8420.817-6.0
Cleveland25.0717.925-7.1
New Orleans23.61114.830-8.8
NY Jets21.82012.532-9.3
Baltimore26.1514.431-11.7

I don't expect Robinson to put up significant numbers in Pittsburgh, but stranger things happened. He at least seems to be joining an offense and a team headed in the right direction (unlike the Rams last year). A reasonable enough flier for the Steelers.

--Andy Richardson

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