The Jacksonville Jaguars have been making every effort to retain wide receiver Allen Robinson for the 2018 season and beyond. After giving quarterback Blake Bortles a contract extension through the 2020 season, the Jaguars now have $32,319,573 in cap space, per spotrac.com. As a result, it would seem the Jaguars could easily franchise tag Robinson at around a $16.23 million. But, as I will explain, the Jaguars will not be able to tag Robinson.
Why Jacksonville Jaguars Wide Receiver Allen Robinson Will Become a Free Agent
The first thing to note is that the franchise tag deadline for the NFL is Tuesday, March 6th at 4:00 pm EST. The Jags have just three short days to make their decision. The second reason is that Robinson would eat up half of their current cap space at a tag of $16-plus million.
Mainly, the team is spending too much money on defense. According to overthecap.com, the Jaguars total cap liabilities are about $179.14 million. Of that number, the Jags are using $111.7 million on defensive players. That number is huge, equating to 62 percent of their total cap usage.
In 2017, the Jaguars signed players Barry Church, A.J. Bouye, and Calais Campbell to massive free agent contracts. They also signed defensive lineman Malik Jackson in 2016. Linebacker Telvin Smith was extended in October. What about cornerback Jalen Ramsey? Will the Jags want to extend the 2016 NFL draft’s fifth overall selection? It seems unlikely they would go away from what earned them a spot in the 2017 AFC Title Game. The defense has been their calling card.
As our own Alex Quiroga points out in “Filling the San Francisco 49ers Wide Receiver Void”, it is seemingly less likely Robinson will be in Jacksonville next season. Not only are the Jags spending a lot of money on defensive players, they also have two solid young receivers in Keelan Cole and Dede Westbrook. Cole played all 16 games, starting six. He recorded 42 receptions for 748 yards and three touchdowns. Westbrook only played in seven games with five starts. But, in his first four games, he caught 20 passes for 235 yards and his only touchdown of the season. Cole and Westbrook both showed tremendous promise.
Another thing that Jacksonville may take into consideration is Robinson’s injury. The budding receiver tore his left ACL in Week 1, finishing 2017 with a mere catch for 17 yards. His lone 1,000-yard season looks bad statistically when considering a contract worth top five positional value.
Here is what Mike Kaye had to say when asked about Robinson:
I don't think he receives the franchise tag. Transition tag may make more sense for both sides.
— Mike Kaye (@mike_e_kaye) March 3, 2018
Transition tags are rare and a player like Robinson would receive the exclusive if the Jaguars want to keep him. They’ll either believe in his 2015 season tape or take that as an anomaly.
Considering the Other Side
When I asked OTC’s founder, Jason told me the Jags could keep Robinson if they deemed it necessary:
Around $30m so they should be able to tag if necessary https://t.co/kRQBcI9VpF
— Jason_OTC (@Jason_OTC) March 3, 2018
It would make some sense for Jacksonville to keep Robinson. They could release Allen Hurns and rid themselves of his cap hit. This would allow them to go into 2018 with Robinson, Cole, and Westbrook as their top three pass-catchers. That’s a good group and Jason also seemed to think that Hurns was overpriced:
Id think it means they wont ridiculously overpay the way they did for Hurns https://t.co/nrPRKxAhRB
— Jason_OTC (@Jason_OTC) March 3, 2018
It also doesn’t make much sense to take Bortles’ top receiver from him. They had their best season together in 2015 but Robinson fell off in 2016. Some would attribute this to Bortles’ play. The decision is left up to Jaguars brass to make, however, and David Caldwell shared his thoughts with Mike Kaye on Wednesday:
#Jaguars GM Dave Caldwell with some interesting wording in a response to a question about Allen Robinson's importance: “Allen is a great kid. There are a lot of things we like about him, but we just have to make sure it is the right thing for the team.”
— Mike Kaye (@mike_e_kaye) February 28, 2018
Reading between the lines, it feels as if general manager David Caldwell knows he doesn’t have to bring Robinson back. Robinson may also be feeling that way, as he tweeted his feeling on this nfl.com article:
Facts only https://t.co/wwK9yo47YS
— Allen Robinson II (@Thee_AR15) February 20, 2018
Overall, there is a case to be made for giving the franchise tag to Robinson. He is a big-bodied number one receiver (6’3″, 220 pounds), capable of scoring touchdowns in the red zone at an average of double digits (10) every year (excluding his rookie season in which he had only one start, and his lost 2017 season due to injury).
The Jaguars should give Robinson the franchise tag to keep him from hitting free agency on March 14. They should then negotiate a long-term deal that will keep the star receiver in Jacksonville for a long time. But, because they’re paying defensive players galore and have a few more left to pay, this doesn’t feel like it will happen. Robinson will ultimately become the prized free agent of the 2018 class and will command a large payday on the NFL’s open market.
The post Why Jacksonville Jaguars Wide Receiver Allen Robinson Will Become a Free Agent appeared first on Last Word on Pro Football.
View the original article on Last Word On Pro Football: Why Jacksonville Jaguars Wide Receiver Allen Robinson Will Become a Free Agent