Drafting Trevor Lawrence with the top overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft was one of the most important decisions the Jacksonville Jaguars made this past offseason. Ensuring his blind side was protected and had enough time to throw the ball was also critical. That’s why they used the franchise tag to retain Cam Robinson for one more year. The Alabama product has generally played well but is set to become a free agent next offseason. One writer believes the Jags should let him walk away.
Brent Sobleski of Bleacher Report came up with a list of one player every NFL team should replace next offseason and Robinson was the pick for the Jags. Sobleski sees the left tackle as a serviceable player and believes that playing him $13 million a year for his services is “ludicrous”:
"The decision to pay an offensive tackle $13 million because he’s serviceable is ludicrous. Robinson is the league’s second-highest-paid left tackle this season despite being a replacement-caliber performer. Considering the Jaguars’ highly paid front five has been a disappointment in Meyer’s first year, Robinson’s retention beyond this season is unnecessary (as it was last year). The Jaguars must do everything in their power to build around Trevor Lawrence and start by finding a long-term left tackle option."
Robinson has been average throughout his career, having never posted a Pro Football Focus grade higher than 63.4. He’s only played a full season once in his career (2020) and looks like he’s already reached his ceiling. While he’s not bad he isn’t great and if the Jaguars want to turn things around, they need to upgrade several positions next offseason, including left tackle. Then again, the team may have bigger needs in 2022 in no particular order: Wide receiver, cornerback, safety and right tackle.
The Jaguars have more important decisions to make than Cam Robinson.
Robinson isn’t the Jaguars’ highest-paid offensive lineman in 2021. That would be left guard Andrew Norwell, who is making $13 million. Both are set to become free agents next offseason and it would make sense to bring back Norwell at the right price as he’s played mostly well. On the other hand, there are different paths the team’s brass can take when it comes to Robinson.
Slapping the left tackle with the tag for the second straight year might not make much sense as the Jags would have to give him a 20 percent raise, and paying Robinson over $15 million is too much. But if he’s willing to accept something around $10 million per year, the front office should consider re-signing him. The Jags could then move Walker Little to right tackle and either trade or bench Jawaan Taylor, who is struggling and isn’t showing signs of improvement.
Similarly, the Jaguars could plug in Little at left tackle and let Robinson walk in free agency. Another alternative is to draft offensive lineman prospect Evan Neal next year, have him line up at left tackle, and move Little to the right.
The Jaguars have enough time to figure out how they plan to approach free agency and the draft and one of the first items on the agenda will be to decide what they will do with Robinson.