In desperate need of help at wide receiver, the Jaguars filled part of their void as they inked free agent wideout Laurent Robinson to a five-year, $32.5 million deal with $14 million in guaranteed money.
Robinson, a journeyman entering 2011, broke out with the Dallas Cowboys as he caught 54 passes for 811 yards and 11 touchdowns. Last season the Jaguars had no receiver catch more than 44 passes for 415 yards and two touchdowns.
More than $6 million annually appears to be a lot for a player with Robinson's body of work, but welcome to the new market for free agent wideouts.
"Teams are signing guys based on what they think they can do," new Redskins wide receiver Pierre Garcon who received a five-year, $42.5 million contract said.
So what type of player are the Jaguars getting?
At 6-foot-2, 194 pounds, Laurent Robinson is quicker than he is fast and catches the ball well. Robinson was a victim of poor quarterback play as a rookie (2007) in Atlanta and fell out of favor with the new coaching staff in 2008. After two mostly unproductive years in St. Louis, Robinson signed for the minimum in Dallas last season. Robinson fit in the Cowboys offense well, but faced very few double-teams playing with talent on the outside like Dez Bryant and Miles Austin.
It's always an adjustment for a former Number 2 or Number 3 receiver to make the jump to Number 1 status. Assuming the Jaguars don't use their first-round pick on a Justin Blackmon or Michael Floyd, that will be Robinson's role with the team.
The money is a major issue in terms of value but as big of a risk as it is, not upgrading the position is a bigger one. Jacksonville literally had the worst receiving corps in football in many years and there was no way to tell if Blaine Gabbert was terrible because he doesn't have the requisite skills or if it was the lack of talent around him.
The team has scouted the wide receiver position very poorly in past years and the results are that the team has had no 1,000 yard receiver since Jimmy Smith in 2005. Their misses on free agents and draft picks have forced the team's hand into spending money on a player with a thin body of work.
Those guys are [bleep]ing jokes," Atlanta Falcons cornerback Dunta Robinson said following Atlanta's 41-14 victory over the Jags in December. "Those guys couldn't get a [bleep]ing receiver if it hit them in the head."
The Jaguars are hoping that Laurent Robinson will bring some respect to the wide receiving corps and passing game in general.
Charlie Bernstein is the NFL Insider for ESPNFlorida.com and ESPN 1080 and 1040 in Orlando/Tampa and Editor-in-Chief of Sports Media Interactive, covering the National Football League, NCAA, and National Basketball Association. Charlie covers the Jacksonville Jaguars for FoxSports and has been featured on the NFL Network and Sirius NFL Radio. Charlie is also a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. You can follow Charlie on Twitter @nflcharlie
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