Jaguars could re-sign OT Cam Robinson and still draft Evan Neal

Cam Robinson #74 of the Jacksonville Jaguars (Photo by Al Pereira/Getty Images)
Cam Robinson #74 of the Jacksonville Jaguars (Photo by Al Pereira/Getty Images) /

Fortifying the offensive line, along with upgrading the wide receiver corps, should be two of the Jacksonville Jaguars’ top priorities this offseason. To address the latter, they could dip their toes in the free-agent market. For the former, they will have several paths and one of them includes re-signing left tackle Cam Robinson.

Michelle Bruton of Bleacher Report recently drew up a list of one free-agent each NFL team should re-sign and Robinson was her pick for the Jags. She doesn’t think it will come cheap though, as applying the franchise tag on him for the second year would cost $16.5 million. Bruton points out that Jacksonville could select North Carolina State’s Ikem Ekwonu or Alabama’s Evan Neal with the first overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. If they take either one, the need to bring back Robinson might become null. Still, she thinks that re-signing the Alabama product would help the Jaguars check off a box in their offseason to-do list.

"But with plenty of other needs laid bare during their 3-14 campaign, especially at wide receiver and on the defensive line, Robinson is an easy solution to one of many problems. With $56.8 million in projected cap space, the third-most leaguewide, Jacksonville can afford to address its offensive line in free agency rather than early in the draft."

A second-round selection in 2017, Robinson gave up just one sack and 31 total pressures in 573 pass-blocking snaps in 2021. The Jaguars slapped him with the franchise tag last offseason expecting him to find his footing after four underwhelming years and he delivered.

Cam Robinson is one of the Jaguars’ top free agents this offseason.

Robinson finished the 2021 season on a strong note and posted a Pro Football Focus grade of 67.4, the highest in his five-year career. The Jags could offer him a deal that pays him around $14-15 million and kick Walker Little to the right side of the offensive line. As Bruton noted, if Jacksonville re-signs Robinson, drafting Neal would become less likely but it wouldn’t be off the table.

After all, Neal made 13 starts at left guard for the Crimson Tide in 2019. The Jags could take him and plug him at guard. This makes sense when you take into account that Andrew Norwell is slated to become a free agent. It would be a long shot but it would be doable and if that’s the course of action they end up taking, they would just need to decide what to do at right guard, with veteran A.J. Cann also scheduled to hit the open market.

It may all come to what the Jaguars are willing to offer and what Robinson wants to get paid. It doesn’t make much sense to bring him back on a one-year rental so both parties may want to strike a long-term deal. The offensive tackle should want to maximize his earnings but if his salary demands become too unrealistic, there will be a point where it will not be feasible to bring him back.

The Jags have several easy decisions to make on offense this offseason. Re-signing Robinson or letting him walk won’t be one of them.

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