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The Jacksonville Jaguars are projected to have roughly $73 million in cap space, a figure that would lead the NFL. That means they will have plenty of money to keep the players with expiring contracts who they feel deserve to stay.
One player in particular who Jags fans are watching closely is left tackle Cam Robinson as he could be an important piece in their future. It’s widely believed that the Jags will be drafting Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence in April, and it’s going to be important to keep him upright.
Robinson, who was drafted by the Jags in the second-round of the 2017 NFL Draft, has started in 47 of the Jags’ 64 regular season games since he was selected. Over that stretch, the biggest concern with him has been his inconsistency in pass protection, a factor with the potential to complicate his deal. That’s not to say he hasn’t flashed either, especially when it comes to the run game.
Due to Robinson’s mixed results, it’s been hard for fans to gauge the type of contract that could be on the table if he’s extended. Thanks to Spotrac, though, a projection has been provided and Robinson’s market value was set at a four-year, $45.6 million deal. That would set Robinson’s average at $11.3 million, good for 18th in the league.
What will the team do about this situation?
Well, if not Robinson, new Jags coach Urban Meyer has to decide if he wants to risk putting his quarterback of the future behind a rookie left tackle, or a free-agent option. While it’s been proven that first-year left tackles can be successful out of the gate (like Mechi Becton and Tristan Wirfs), it’s still a risky idea to put a potential investment like Lawrence behind a fellow rookie.
As for the free-agent market, there are players who would be upgrades over Robinson, like Trent Williams and Alejandro Villanueva, but both are 32 years of age. And though tackles like Andrew Whitworth have proven they can still be solid past the age of 32, this would be a directional step away from the Jags’ belief in a youth movement.
According to CBS Sports’ Dennis Dodd, the Jags are going to be keeping offensive line coach George Warhop. The reason for that is likely because Meyer has been vocal about wanting to have experienced NFL coaches within his staff. If Warhop is retained, that could bode well for Robinson, as the two have been together for two seasons now.
Simply put, a long-term deal could depend on whether or not Warhop believes Robinson has upside that he could tap into. It’s also worth considering that Trent Baalke was retained in the front office and is now the general manager. He could be fine with taking a gamble on Robinson, who he watched in 2020, instead of going for another option not on the team, or creating another hole on a roster full of issues.
As for Meyer, he’s been big on trusting his coaches and believes he can win now. It’s very possible a key player like Robinson is part of the reason he feels that way. Meyer has also made a point of not blaming players for shortcomings on the team, instead putting the onus on his staff to maximize their potential.
While this new regime is one that’s hard to predict, the little we do know indicates that they could believe in Robinson and his upside. That could result in them rolling the dice with a long-term deal. Personally, I think the franchise tag would be more responsible (was valued at $14.781M in 2020), that way he’ll be given the chance to improve his play in 2021.
As always, though, time will tell in terms of the Jags’ ultimate decision.