FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Two questions emerged in the aftermath of the Rashard Robinson trade: What? Why?

The “what?” came from coach Todd Bowles, who was blindsided by the trade during his news conference on Tuesday. At about 3:50 ET, 10 minutes before the NFL trading deadline, Bowles told reporters he didn’t anticipate any deals for the New York Jets. A few minutes later, the Robinson trade broke on Twitter and Bowles was asked about it.

“Did we?” he asked, clearly caught off guard. “I wasn’t aware of that, but I’ll go upstairs and check on it.”

It was an awkward moment for the organization, but general manager Mike Maccagnan had indeed made the trade. He acquired the second-year cornerback from the San Francisco 49ers for a fifth-round pick in 2018.


Robinson has been one of the most penalized players in the league over the last two seasons, and now he joins one of the most penalized teams.

You can’t make this stuff up.

Robinson has been penalized a league-high 23 times since 2016 — 16 on defense, seven on special teams, according to ESPN Stats & Information. He’s the perfect Jet.

This season, Robinson has been flagged 10 times, second in the league. He joins a secondary that includes cornerbacks Morris Claiborne (seven penalties) and Buster Skrine (six). The trio ranks among the league’s penalty leaders on defense.

Behold, the penalty pals.

On the surface, the trade certainly raises some questions. Robinson also has a checkered background. At LSU, he was suspended in 2014 for a failed drug test and poor academics. He wasn’t allowed to re-enroll because he was arrested for unauthorized entry into a teammate’s apartment in June 2015. He transferred to a community college and trained for the 2016 draft.

Maccagnan wasn’t available to discuss it, but the front office is intrigued by Robinson’s size (6-foot-1) and athletic traits. He has a ton of raw ability for a press-man scheme, but he needs a lot of coaching. The 49ers drafted him in the fourth round in 2016 and made him a starter, but they changed regimes and he fell out of favor. Coach Kyle Shanahan ran out of patience and benched him after seven starts.

Robinson can help in the short term because Claiborne and Skrine are nursing injuries — Robinson might play Thursday night against the Buffalo Bills — but he’s also viewed as part of the future. Claiborne will be a free agent, Skrine could be a cap casualty and former draft pick Juston Burris hasn’t panned out, leaving the Jets almost barren at cornerback in 2018.

Safety Jamal Adams, who played one year with Robinson at LSU, offered a scouting report: “He’s aggressive. Can play man-to-man. Long, rangy. He has all the tools to be one of the best.”

Evidently, the front office feels the same way. It acquired a starting-caliber corner for only a fifth-round pick. Now it has to figure out a way to stop the flag football.