Andre Roberts Has Helped Detroit Greatly This Season, Why Would We Get Rid of Him?
One of the most interesting characters and players on the roster this year is the number four wide receiver and starting kick/punt returner Andre Roberts. He signed a one year deal for $760K in the off-season after spending 2010-2013 in Arizona and 2014 and 2015 in Washington.
Detroit needed help at the receiver position with Calvin Johnson retiring. They brought in Marvin Jones to take that role over. Lance Moore left as the number three receiver, so Detroit signed Anquan Boldin to replace him with TJ Jones. Who looked to be the clear cut number four receiver and kick returner with Corey Fuller hurt. Detroit signed Andre Caldwell to be the supposed kick returner, but he lost the job to Andre Roberts.
Andre Roberts Is Inconsistent
This is why he needs to go. Andre Roberts is the most inconsistent wide receiver on the team. Sure he only has one drop, but out of the 14 pass attempts he has been given, he has only caught nine passes. Roberts has saved Detroit in games like Washington, Minnesota and Los Angeles with big catches and a touchdown. Roberts has nine catches for 139 yards and one touchdown.
The problem relies in his returning ability.
While he does have two punt returns for touchdowns this year on 14 returns for 205 yards, his kick return game is horrible. Many times we have seen Roberts leave the endzone and get tackled before the 25 yard line. The last two games he has improved in keeping himself in, but sooner or later it will hurt Detroit badly. He did cough up a fumble against Jacksonville on a punt return and it helped Jacksonville get points on the board.
When Roberts does return the ball when he is outside the endzone, he doesn’t produce many yards. He has 22 returns for 481 yards as he tries at times to juke out defenders, he ends up costing the team yards and wastes the return.
Who Do We Replace Him With?
Cordarrelle Patterson is the perfect replacement. He is going to be a free agent this off-season and Detroit should be calling. Not only is Patterson a better returner, he is a better wide receiver. Patterson has 39 catches for 324 yards and two touchdowns. Patterson is three inches taller than Roberts, being 6’2 compared to 5’11, he would be a better fit as a number four (possibly number three if Boldin retires) receiver.
Patterson does lack in the punt return game. He technically has never returned a punt in his career, but this year he has nine yards. Kick returning is where he is dangerous. So far this year he has 16 for 500 yards and one touchdown, getting more yards on less returns and a touchdown compared to Roberts.
Comparing careers, Roberts has 75 kick returns for 1,781 yards and one touchdown. While Patterson has 125 returns for 3,783 yards and five touchdowns. Based of his returns, Roberts averages 23.7 yards per return. If he were to add 50 more returns his yardage total would go up to 2,968.3, still 800 less than Patterson.
The tough part with Patterson is that many teams will want him as something more than just a returner and number three or four receiver. Someone will pay for him to go up to a number two receiver role in the off-season and overpay for someone who hasn’t proven to be anything more than a number three receiver.
Detroit may have to pay Patterson if they want a better option than Roberts, if not there are plenty of other options around the league.