Veteran cornerback Patrick Robinson has found a new home, agreeing to terms on a deal with the Indianapolis Colts.
The Colts confirmed their agreement with Robinson on their official website, though they did not disclose the terms. Robinson later released a statement regarding his decision, via Rand Getlin of the NFL Network:
Rand Getlin @Rand_Getlin
Statement from CB Patrick Robinson on the circumstances surrounding his free agency. https://t.co/yh8W5ccyoz2016-3-23 23:48:11
NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported Robinson's deal with the Colts will be for three years and $14 million, also noting the Dallas Cowboys were strongly in the mix before Indianapolis stepped in. Brandon George of the Dallas Morning News added the deal was worth $6 million guaranteed and could pay as much as $9 million over the first two seasons.
Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported Tuesday that a three-year deal between Robinson and the Cowboys was "pretty much done," but the team was waiting for him to resolve his agent situation.
ESPN.com's Todd Archer reported later that same day that Robinson switched agents, and the Cowboys were waiting to meet with his new representatives to finalize a deal.
The Cowboys' loss turns out to be the Colts' gain, and it couldn't have come at a more opportune time for the AFC South club.
The 28-year-old Robinson has shown versatility throughout his career, playing on both sides of the field during his time with the New Orleans Saints and San Diego Chargers.
A first-round pick in 2010, Robinson spent the first five years of his career with the Saints. He looked like a budding star in his second season, recording four interceptions and 15 passes defensed in helping New Orleans win the NFC South.
After becoming a full-time starter in 2012, Robinson's career began to take a downward tumble. Pro Football Focus noted he allowed the most passing touchdowns of any cornerback (nine) that year. He missed 14 games in 2013 with a patella injury and went back to being a No. 3/nickel cornerback.
Last year, as a member of the Chargers, Robinson had a resurgence, per Pro Football Focus:
Pro Football Focus @PFF
No CB with 500+ snaps has allowed fewer rec yards than SD's Patrick Robinson (300). No CB has allowed more than PIT's Antwon Blake (1,003)2015-12-28 14:57:02
He is no longer a defensive back capable of starting on the outside for a quality secondary, but he's found a strong niche as a slot-coverage player. That's a significant role in this era of football with offenses built on three- and four-receiver sets.
The Colts certainly needed to address their defense at multiple positions. They have never been great in the Andrew Luck era and were particularly rough in 2015 when the star quarterback missed most of the season because of injuries.
Interceptions aren't always the defining stat for defensive backs, but the Colts are sorely lacking in playmakers at that level on defense.
Robinson is the kind of underrated cornerback that the Colts should be investing in as they look to build a solid defense to support an offense that will be among the NFL's best if Luck can stay on the field.
NFL free agency is a tricky game. The money involved to land marquee players often makes it difficult for teams to get their money's worth. It's often the second- and third-tier players who will provide the best value.
Robinson won't cause anyone to drastically alter their list of winners from the offseason, but his strong play last season and low cost in free agency make him one of the best signings. He will have a profound impact on the field in 2016 for his new team.
Stats per ESPN.com.