Could Laurent Robinson and Austin Collie Raise Their Statuses as New York Jets?

Brian Spurlock/US Presswire

Brian Spurlock/US Presswire

As each day passes, the New York Jets’ status at the wide receiver position becomes bleaker. The team has become so desperate that they are bringing in two wide receivers who have taken an unparalleled fall from grace because of several severe injuries. The two training camp invitees, Laurent Robinson and Austin Collie, have been making headlines for all the wrong reasons.

The two are infamous to all 32 franchises as players who have undergone the most serious of head injures. Robinson is at such dire straits due to his concussion history that he was unable to spend quality time with his newborn daughter at the beginning of the NFL offseason as a result of four sidelining head injuries in a four-month span.

Collie, too, is in between a rock and a hard place: his saving grace from another disastrous concussion in 2013 was a torn patellar tendon, an excruciating knee injury that, according to Collie, was a “blessing.” These returns beg the question: what chances do these two players have at fitting in with the New York Jets and ever contributing again?

It makes more sense to start with Laurent Robinson, as his plummet was more recent, albeit steeper. Signed in 2011 by the Dallas Cowboys to vacate the void left by Roy Williams, Robinson quickly became a favorite target of Tony Romo. With 54 receptions, 858 receiving yards, and 11 touchdowns in just 15 games, Robinson had seemingly turned the corner and was going to catch fire as another perennially talented target with whom Romo could work.

RobinsonInstead of keeping him, Dallas saw the writing on the wall and let him test the market, where Robinson cashed in big with Jacksonville. The five-year, $32.5 million deal was unprecedented: since when does one career 50-reception season warrant such high pay? Seen by fans as the man to turn the Jaguars’ offense into a dual threat, Robinson faced heaps of pressure entering the 2012 season. After turning in two average contests and two horrendous ones, Robinson was sidelined with his first concussion of the season.

The symptoms persisted and took over Robinson’s season until another concussion would end the disaster that was Robinson’s time in Jacksonville. Robinson saw the dangers in continuing, but still decided to keep the cleats on. With no team willing to give Robinson a contract without testing him on the field, it was more than apparent that his best chance at making a team was a training camp invite. With that said, does Robinson have the ability to turn his career around? It is never easy for wide receivers to come back from concussions; oftentimes they slow down a few steps out of fear. In addition, they take far fewer risks in order to protect themselves.

Although seemingly a one-year wonder, Robinson acclimated more and more to the game before his monstrous season took place. While it is not guaranteed that the only way is down for Robinson, the injury bug has had his name for a while, and Robinson does not currently possess the elite speed or size that makes him worth the risk. Playing alongside Dez Bryant, Miles Austin, and Jason Witten contributed to his openness in the football field (and his long catch-and-runs), and his former foot speed and situation will never return, deeming Robinson’s football career history.

Now to move onto Austin Collie, this situation is much easier to dissect. First and foremost, Collie never had superb output, aside from a season cut short when Collie was on pace to eclipse 1150 yards and 14 touchdowns. Sadly, that was Collie’s final season being graced with Peyton Manning’s presence. It should surprise nobody that the absence of Peyton Manning and a catastrophic concussion – that almost looked paralyzing – foundered Collie’s career before it could flourish. Collie could not produce a good season in 2012 when the Colts were forced to pass and Reggie Wayne was right next to him.

His season with Andrew Luck was too short to create an opinion, but it’s worth noting that Collie could not even finish one game without being sidelined again.  The chances of him turning around his career are slim, unless he somehow finds his way into the arms of Drew Brees, Tom Brady, or Aaron Rodgers. Being on the field at the same time as Reggie Wayne and Peyton Manning is nothing short of a great deal; that situation is not going to repeat itself. Consider his career finished.

It looks like Rex Ryan and John Idzik can continue shrugging their shoulders and taking things day-by-day. For now, the Jets’ outlook at the wide receiver position cannot get much worse. Santonio Holmes, Stephen Hill, Jeremy Kerley, and Clyde Gates have to step up, because neither Laurent Robinson nor Austin Collie can get the job done.

All stats courtesy of profootballreference.com.