For much of this offseason, Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell has been given praise for his recruiting skills, both when it comes to amassing a coaching staff and free agency players. However, at least one NFL player turned down some interest from Campbell and the Lions.
Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Demarcus Robinson told the crew over at NFL Network’s “Good Morning Football” that the Lions had come calling, but he opted to stay in Kansas City instead.
“I chose the Chiefs because of my family, the culture, just talking with everybody, seeing what would best fit me,” he said on Thursday morning. “I had another team, it was Detroit, that was also looking at me. And the Chiefs just wanted me more at the time.”
Robinson signed a one-year deal with the Chiefs worth $1.14 million guaranteed. Because Robinson has been with the Chiefs for at least four years, he qualifies for a reduced salary cap hit to the Chiefs, and will count less than $1 million against the cap (the Lions used the same rule for Jalen Reeves-Maybin).
Early in the offseason, we identified Robinson as a logical free agent target for Detroit with ties to their current staff. Current Lions senior personnel executive John Dorsey drafted Robinson back in 2016 for the Chiefs. Last year was his best statistical season with 45 catches, 446 yards and three touchdowns. With Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones Jr. landing elsewhere, Robinson could have had an opportunity for a significant increase in targets in Detroit.
In essence, Robinson turned down an opportunity for a bigger role with the Lions to stay with a team that could get him another ring. In Kansas City, Robinson will be behind Tyreek Hill on the depth chart and will split some time with Mecole Hardman, while he likely would have been (at least) WR2 in Detroit. He’ll still likely get plenty of looks in Kansas City—especially after the team moved on from Sammy Watkins this offseason—so it’s hard to blame him for staying. Playing with Patrick Mahomes also happens to be a pretty big perk.
As for Detroit, they ended up signing Breshad Perriman, who is expected to contend for a starting role this fall.