The Jacksonville Jaguars announced on Tuesday that they would not place the franchise tag on wide receiver Alan Robinson. The four- year veteran is scheduled to test free agency unless the team and his representatives can work out a long-term deal in the next week.
Robinson, who suffered an ACL injury in the opening minutes of the 2017 season, may not be worth the $16 million that would have been projected as his 2018 salary had he been franchise tag, but the Jacksonville jaguars need him on the field.
The argument for moving on from the former Penn state star is the Jaguars won without him. But from a talent perspective, there is no other wide receiver on the current roster who is as dynamic. There is no other pass catcher who changes a football game with one catch.
There is speed on the outside and in the slot with Dede Westbrook and Keelan Cole, and if the team decides to bring Marqise Lee back, he provides top-end speed that quarterback Blake Bortles will need this coming season.
The decision to try and negotiate a long-term deal with Robinson is about what is best for business for the Jacksonville Jaguars. I’ve spoken about this on several occasions this past week. Is one player, who is coming off a major knee injury, worth $16 million? Does this team invest in a player who are there has shown flashes of brilliance in the past, but may not be at full speed because of the type of injury he suffered?
Robinson undoubtedly will receive a lot of attention on the open market. The Jaguars could still become part of the scramble to sign him. And if the off-season moves of this organization from last year are any indication about what direction the Jacksonville Jaguars are headed, Robinson must be part of this blueprint.
From a fan’s perspective, $16 million is a lot to leave on the table. Especially when a player’s salary is less than $1 million the previous season. We don’t know what conversations were had behind closed doors. We do know that prior to last season there were discussions about a contract extension. Robinson told the Jacksonville Jaguars he wasn’t worried about getting a deal done. And then the injury happened. Robinson is still considered the best free-agent talent in a market that is void of true superstars.
That is what you call leverage. He knows it, the Jacksonville Jaguars know it, and the fans know it.
If the team is not able to re-sign Robinson to a long-term deal, where do they turn? Taylor Gabriel of Atlanta is available. Donte Moncrief of Indianapolis is available. But nobody on the current free agent roster provides the same kind of production that Jacksonville would get from No. 15.
A local writer here in Jacksonville suggested the team use the transition tag on Robinson, where the Jaguars would have the option of matching an offer made to their top wide receiver. The trick with that is some team could frontload a contract or make it fiscally impossible for the Jaguars to re-sign him and stay within the boundaries of the salary cap.
It makes sense for general manager David Caldwell to continue negotiations with Robinson and his agent. While it appears that the Jaguars will open the 2018 season without Robinson the lineup, there is still hope a deal will get done.
Fans here in Jacksonville or split on their feelings regarding retaining Robinson – a player who spoke openly about a lack of fan support and home-field advantage that rubbed the fanbase the wrong way. There’s no denying he has a talent and fans love it when they see him jump for footballs and take a potential interception out of the hands of a defender.
Given the fact that The Jaguars have committed money to a quarterback who has been anything but consistent means his supporting cast must be the best it can be.
Robinson gives them a little more security.
Jaguars’ All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey took to Twitter again on Tuesday campaigning for both Robinson and defensive back Aaron Colvin. It’s been a theme this off-season that Ramsey has been firmly in the corner of both of his teammates. The Jaguars have a little more than $27 million to spend in free agency. They must do what’s best for the organization and for the future of its roster. Robinson and Colvin, who is still very much in play in the team’s future plans, should be part of that blueprint that I’ve spoken of.
Whether they can work a deal out with both remains to be seen. While $16 million seems like a lot of money to pay for a player who must again prove he still is a dominant player, Robinson seems to be the one who holds all the cards.