Packers must weigh whether to give Geronimo Allison one more chance
Eighth in a series on the Packers' unrestricted free agents and their likelihood of remaining with the team.
GREEN BAY - If not for a groin injury ending his season after only five games, Geronimo Allison might have had a breakout 2018.
He had 20 catches, 303 yards and two touchdowns in abbreviated snaps, showing himself to be a large target capable of making plays. So hopeful were the Green Bay Packers in his ascension, they signed him to a one-year, $2.8 million contract that included a $750,000 signing bonus last offseason, eschewing the traditional restricted free-agent tender.
The contract was essentially a prove-it deal. Make good in that one year, and Allison was staring at a much more lucrative and longer contract.
Instead, Allison struggled transitioning into new coach Matt LaFleur’s offense. He stayed healthy in 2019, but his 287 yards on 34 catches were fewer than he had in five games the previous year. Allison averaged 15.2 yards per catch in 2018. His average fell almost by half, to 8.4 yards per reception, in 2019.
While Allison excelled as a run blocker, his production in the pass game did not provide the one-year boost he needed entering free agency this spring.
Age next season: 26.
Initially acquired: Signed as an undrafted free agent May 6, 2016.
Stats: 34 catches, 287 yards, 2 touchdowns.
Argument for: While Allison struggled, he was hardly the only Packers receiver who slumped in 2019. After top target Davante Adams, only Allen Lazard drew rave reviews from general manager Brian Gutekunst after the season. Yes, the Packers are going to overhaul their receiver depth chart this spring, but can they really add three, maybe four, in one offseason? If not a top-of-the-depth-chart receiver, Allison has shown in his career he’s an NFL-caliber player. His past history could warrant a chance to rebound this offseason, especially considering that for all his struggles, a case could be made that Marquez Valdes-Scantling struggled more, and Equanimeous St. Brown is a bit of a mystery after losing his entire season to injury.
Argument against: The Packers have plenty of sample size by now. If Allison was going to ascend into a starting caliber receiver, chances are it would have happened already. And if it isn’t going to happen, isn’t Allison merely consuming the roster spot of a receiver who possibly could reach that level? Gutekunst’s approach to player evaluation is simple. If a player shows he can’t do it, move on. Given the chance in a full season, Allison showed last year he isn’t a starting-caliber receiver. Will the Packers move on?
Quotables: “It’s no secret, G-Mo has had a couple drops. I think the one (Week 15 vs. Chicago Bears), that was not an easy catch. I’ve seen him make it before, so I know he can do it. But he brings so much to the table in terms of his physicality in the run game. On that 21-yard touchdown run by Aaron Jones (against the Bears), he’s blocking that Mike linebacker in there, and I don’t think you’re going to find too many receivers that can do that.” — Matt LaFleur