The 49ers last season were the sixth worst team in the NFL when it came to scoring touchdowns during red-zone trips.
They converted just 47 percent of those attempts on the year. And that number went down a tick to 46 percent (11 of 24) with Jimmy Garoppolo starting over the last five games (weighted heavily by the 0-for-5 day in his Chicago debut).
That points to the need for a big-bodied receiver capable of making plays in traffic. Marquise Goodwin and Trent Taylor were helpful between the 20s, but neither were effective enough when the field condensed in the scoring area. Pierre Garçon didn’t score a touchdown in his eight games before his season-ending neck injury – although he never got to play with Garoppolo.
All that points to Jaguars receiver Allen Robinson as a potential 49ers target in free agency this spring. But there’s an unknown variable for any team willing to consider making him one of its highest paid players: health.
Robinson, who turns just 25 in August, sustained an ACL tear in September’s regular season opener. Recoveries vary, but those knee injuries often take a full calendar year, throwing a wrench into his market. Robinson said this week he’s expecting to pass a physical in March when it comes time to signing a new contract, in Jacksonville or elsewhere.
Per the Florida Times Union:
“Everybody knows the plays I’m capable of making and being 24 years old, I’m expected to make a 100 percent recovery,” he said. “I know I’ll be at 100 percent relatively soon.”
(Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Robinson was the Jaguars’ leading receiver the past three seasons. At 6-foot-3 and 220 pounds, he would be San Francisco’s only projected top wideout taller than 6-foot. He led the NFL with 14 touchdown grabs in 2014 adding to a stellar 1,400-yard campaign. He has spent his career playing with Blake Bortles after being drafted in the second round in 2014 out of Penn State.
Twelve of Robinson’s 20 career touchdowns have come inside the 10-yard line (Goodwin, San Francisco’s top receiver to end the year, has two such touchdowns as a pro, with one coming on a shovel pass Week 17 against the Rams).
The Jaguars could give Robinson the franchise tag to keep him off the market, which is projected to cost more than $16 million. They are slated to have roughly $25 million in space headed into next season. The 49ers are expected to have $100 million in room – and would offer Robinson a chance to play with a better quarterback in Kyle Shanahan’s system known for helping its top receivers put up big numbers.