The Jacksonville Jaguars are geared up to acquire talent in free agency, but they also need to make sure they re-sign their own young players including Allen Robinson and Telvin Smith.
With free agency only a week away and the combine quickly approaching, the focus for the Jacksonville Jaguars is to find players who can come in and make the team better. Given the team’s pathetic 3-13 record in 2016, it’s completely reasonable to emphasize finding more productive guys to compete for starting jobs.
Despite the record, the Jaguars actually do have a handful of players they need to re-sign who are entering the final year of their rookie deals. Two of those guys are from general manager David Caldwell‘s mostly successful 2014 draft class – Allen Robinson and Telvin Smith.
While not without their flaws, one could make the case that Robinson and Smith represent the foundational youth on both sides of the ball for the Jaguars. Robinson was the team’s lone Pro Bowl player in 2015, while Smith has improved every year and become one of the best 4-3 outside linebackers in the NFL.
Bill Barnwell over at ESPN believes the Jaguars should make it a point to re-sign both players this offseason.
"4. Re-sign Allen Robinson and Telvin Smith. Outside of Ramsey, Dave Caldwell’s two top draft picks both came in the middle rounds of 2014. Like Hopkins in Houston, Robinson had a frustrating 2016 season driven by poor quarterback play, but it’s impossible to doubt the former Penn State star’s talent. Indeed, most of what was perceived to be a Blake Bortles breakout in 2015 was magic from Robinson. The frustrating 2016 may drive Robinson’s price down a bit, but they didn’t do themselves any favors by signing Allen Hurns to an extension two years before he would have been an unrestricted free agent without getting much of a discount. Hurns might now be their third-best wideout with Marqise Lee showing signs of life last season.More from Jacksonville Jaguars NewsJacksonville Jaguars should welcome Derrick Henry into the kingdomJaguars Rumors: Trent Baalke seems to be getting respect nowJaguars News: This division rival might be making a big moveFormer Jacksonville Jaguars S Johnathan Cyprien: “New Profession, Same Standards”Jacksonville Jaguars TE Evan Engram officially gets the franchise tag: 3 takeawaysRobinson is going to have his market set by the deals handed out to the likes of Hopkins and Alshon Jeffery this offseason. Beyond them, Robinson’s representation will look at the deal handed to T.Y. Hilton as a comp. Hilton received $38 million in new money over the first three years of his extension from Indy, and Robinson will be heading in the same ballpark.The Jags will have little trouble finding the money for Robinson, and they need to shell out for Smith, who is one of the most underrated linebackers in football. Few weakside ‘backers have his range, as Smith tied for the league with 11 tackles for loss against the run last year. The closest comp for Smith is Tampa’s Lavonte David, who got $29.8 million over the first three years of his extension with the Bucs. Smith will be in the same range for Jacksonville."
Allen Robinson had a down year in 2016, but he still has traits to be the top receiver on a playoff team. He was put in impossible situations most of the year and was asked far too often to make plays on low-percentage routes. He looked like a completely different guy in the last 2 games when Doug Marrone took over and had him line up all over the field. It’s easy to overthink it, but the Jaguars should just get it out of the way soon and re-sign Robinson to a deal similar to what Hilton got.
As for Smith, the Jaguars are in an interesting spot. Telvin is one of the best players on defense, but he plays the same position as Myles Jack and the team doesn’t appear to be ready to move on from Paul Posluszny yet. Again, it’s easy to overthink it but the Jaguars need to re-sign Telvin simply because they can’t afford to let good players walk away.