The Jacksonville Jaguars have their work cut out after being eliminated from playoff contention in the season finale. While they would like to mostly lean on the draft to replenish the roster, they'll have to dip their toes in free agency to bolster a few position groups. Also, they have to make decisions on Josh Allen and Calvin Ridley, both of whom are set to hit the open market. This means the Jags will need ample cap space, and they may not currently have enough.
The Bleacher Report scouting department has identified three candidates who could get cut to get more space. At the top of the list is left tackle Cam Robinson, who's set to count $21.6 million against the cap. However, Jacksonville could create $17.7 million in space with $3. 8 million in savings if they release him. B/R argues that moving on from a "good-not-great" left tackle may not be a good the best course of action if they want to ensure Trevor Lawrence gets optimal protection.
On the other hand, they believe the space they're to gain by releasing Robinson is simply too much to ignore. They add that having Walker Little in place makes the decision to part ways with Robinson somewhat bearable.
"The Jaguars have a reasonable contingency plan. Walker Little started those four games and acquitted himself nicely. He was eventually kicked inside to guard, which is not an ideal fit for him at 6'7", 325 pounds. In total, he played 659 snaps and gave up just two sacks, per PFF. It's a lot of money to pass up just to stick with Robinson, but this is more of a trade situation because of the demand for decent left tackles."
Robinson, a second-round pick in 2017, has spent his whole career in Jacksonville. While he isn't a Pro Bowl-caliber player, he's an above-average player who became a leader for the Jaguars in the offensive trenches. They rewarded him with a three-year contract worth $54 million in 2022. However, he violated the NFL's performance-enhancing drug policy last offseason. That wiped out the guarantees on his deal and earned him a four-game suspension to start the season.
During Robinson's absence, Walker Little filled in for him. A second-round pick in 2021, Little thrived in the four games he started, giving up just five total pressures and one sack on 175 pass-blocking snaps. Once Robinson came back from his suspension, he returned to left tackle and Little was bumped to left guard.
The other two Jaguars players Bleacher Report names as potential cap casualties are wide receiver Zay Jones and defensive tackle Folorunso Fatukasi. Jones is coming off an injured-riddled season in which he caught just 34 receptions for 321 yards with two touchdowns.
However, the former East Carolina Pirate set career bests for both yards and receptions the year prior, so the Jags may be open to restructuring his contract. He's scheduled to make $11.01 million in the last year of the three-year contract worth $24 he signed in 2022. Releasing him would create $4.4 million in savings with $6.5 million in dead money. Meanwhile, Fatukasi is slated to count $12.8 million against the cap in 2024. All things considered, he could be an easier choice to walk the plank.
A nose tackle, Fatukasi shouldn't be evaluated based on his sack totals. His main role is to take on blockers and collapse the pocket. Similarly, he's tasked with clogging up running lanes but his play hasn't been on par with the $30 million contract he signed in 2022. Releasing him would leave $9.2 million in dead money but it would also free up $3.5 million in space.
Cam Robinson will give the Jacksonville Jaguars a tough decision to make
Out of the three, Cam Robinson will be the toughest to make a decision on. Whenever he wasn't on the field in 2023, the offensive line struggled. His presence certainly gave the unit a boost, and his leadership would be missed. On the other hand, the $17.7 million in savings the Jaguars would get by releasing him could come in handy. They need to give extensions to Calvin Ridley and Josh Allen, and they could use that extra room.
In the end, things could come down to how much they trust Walker Little to take over at left tackle. If they think he's ready, releasing Robinson may become a bit easier. There's also a chance they may place Robinson on the trade block. Given the demand at the position, they could get a third-round selection, possibly a second.
The Jaguars are under pressure after failing to make the playoffs last year. While they still have enough talent in place to bounce back in 2024, they'll need to reshuffle their roster. Releasing or trading Cam Robinson could certainly help them achieve the goal.