The New York Giants desire to keep as much of their dominant 2016 defense together as possible, could be on the verge of receiving a significant blow. Linebacker Keenan Robinson, a key member of the Giants’ nickel packages, is reportedly traveling Monday to visit with the Cincinnati Bengals.
Robinson came to the Giants in 2016 on a one-year deal. He started only six games, but played 782 defensive snaps, or 71 percent. Robinson’s coverage ability and his pursuit in run defense helped the Giants. His 76.5 coverage grade was 33rd among linebackers graded by Pro Football Focus. That may not seem like much, but considering the difficulties the Giants have had over the years covering running backs and tight ends, it was significant.
Robinson played three seasons with the Washington Redskins, missing one full year with an injury.
The possibility of losing Robinson in free agency is perhaps one of the reasons why J.T. Thomas III, who missed all of 2016 with a knee injury, is still on the Giants’ roster. Thomas, Jonathan Casillas, Devon Kennard and 2016 fourth-round pick B.J. Goodson are the only experience linebackers currently on the roster. Deontae Skinner played in seven games for the New England Patriots in 2014.
Defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins also remains a free agent.