With a dearth of talent at the wide receiver position and numerous free agent options going off the market quickly, the Jacksonville Jaguars entered the fray by signing former Dallas wide receiver Laurent Robinson.
Reports indicate that Robinson will sign a five-year, $32.5-million contract that contains $14-million in guarantees.
Robinson enjoyed a career-year in Dallas in 2011. Despite playing a reserve role behind Miles Austin and Dez Bryant, he caught 54 passes for 858 yards and 11 touchdowns, establishing career-highs in each category.
While Dallas was satisfied with his production, they made little effort to re-sign him, likely in the belief that his production came as a result of being the team’s fourth option in the passing game behind Austin, Bryant and tight end Jason Witten.
In Jacksonville, Robinson ascends to the top of the team’s depth chart at the position and will be paired in the starting lineup with Mike Thomas, barring another free agent addition or the team using a high draft pick on the position.
While Robinson possesses solid size and speed, he has failed to remain healthy and the Jaguars will be his fifth team as he enters his sixth season in the league.
First off, let’s take a shot at the Jaguars business acumen, particularly when it comes to the wide receiver position.
The Jaguars decided to sign Mike Thomas to a three-year, $18-million extension ($9-million in guarantees) that runs through 2015. That amounts to $6-million per season for a 5’8”, 198 pound receiver who should play out of the slot.
Of course, in Jacksonville, he was their top wide receiver in 2010, catching 66 passes for 820 yards and four touchdowns. After signing the extension, Thomas become persona non grata, catching 24 passes for 203 yards and failing to find the end zone over his next 11 games (he missed one game with an injury).
So, after that abysmal failure, do the Jaguars learn to pay a player for his ability as opposed to his performance given favorable circumstances? Not a chance.
Enter Robinson, who gets guaranteed money similar to what far more established receivers such as DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon received. This for a player who was waived by the Chargers in training camp last year, remained unsigned entering the season, has missed 28 games over the first five years of his career and has failed to establish himself as a number two receiver, let alone the top dog.
Don’t for one second make the assumption that Robinson will match his 2011 production with the Jaguars while catching passes from second-year quarterback Blaine Gabbert. It ain’t gonna happen.
Unless the Jaguars are planning on trading up to acquire Justin Blackmon in the draft, Robinson’s signing is foolhardy. Even then, it might still be.
Somebody in your league will reach or overpay for Robinson. Please don’t let it be you.
And don’t drink the Thomas or Gabbert Kool-Aid either.