The off-season for an NFL franchise is typically about reflecting, restructuring, retooling, reassessing and preparing for the season ahead. For the Jaguars, maybe it’s a time of reflection on the decision not to re-sign former wide receiver, Allen Robinson.
It has been 418 days since the Jaguars decided to allow Robinson to depart for the Chicago Bears. Almost 14 months. During that time, the Jaguars have been on a rollercoaster of expectations and disappointments. Up and down we go. Such is the life of a fan of the Jaguars.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Reflecting on the Departure of Allen Robinson
At the time of the decision, there was second-guessing as to the reasoning behind the front office’s decision not to use the franchise tag on Robinson, close to $16 million. A hefty price tag, but Robinson was undoubtedly the lone offensive weapon among the Jaguars’ receiving corps. Sure, Robinson was recovering from a ACL injury suffered in the opening game of 2017 which is another factor. However, he is a player that demanded double teams and would cause opposing defensive coordinators to create schemes in an attempt to slow him down.
Bye Bye, Blake Bortles
One of the biggest criticisms of Robinson was his relationship, or lack of one, with former Jaguars’ quarterback Blake Bortles. Robinson was vocal about his feelings towards Bortles, which ruffled some feathers. After a practice or in the locker room after a game, Robinson did not restrain his feelings that Bortles was handcuffing the team. It’s almost like he knew his quarterback’s limitations better than the coaching staff. Looking at it now, he was right.
Bortles hit a ceiling in 2017 helping the Jaguars to the AFC championship game, with Robinson sidelined. However, his inefficiencies returned early in 2018 and he came crashing down to reality during a disappointing 5-11 campaign. It became evident that it was time for the Jaguars to move on from Bortles as 2019 began.
Welcome Nick Foles
If newly acquired quarterback Nick Foles is truly the answer to the offense in Jacksonville, then the release of Robinson is not on the minds of Jaguar fans. Foles is a proven veteran with a Super Bowl ring along with accuracy not seen in Jacksonville for years. However, what about the receivers he has inherited?
An old friend (Chris Conley) from his Kansas City Chiefs days who was never more than a sixth option in the offense? Also, a couple of youngsters (Dede Westbrook and D.J. Chark) who have flashed potential but are far from a number one option? Along with a hobbled veteran (Marqise Lee) hoping to return from a devastating injury in August 2018? The 2018 regression of Keelan Cole does not place him on the list as a factor in the rotation moving forward. He has to prove that was an aberration and not a trend. Not to mention the fact that the front office did not address the lack of playmaker in the draft.
It has been chronicled that there is a need for Foles to be surrounded by weapons in order to succeed. This is certain to be an issue in 2019 unless one of the receivers decides to step up. But what if the Jaguars decided to stick with Robinson? What if? He could certainly be the role of Alshon Jeffery that helped Foles and the Eagles win a ring two years ago. Robinson could be the trusted receiver Foles needs
Of course, hindsight is always 20/20. But just imagine how lethal a Foles to Allen Robinson combination would be in the AFC. No sense dwelling in the past. Ultimately a coach needs to coach the players he currently has on the roster. You got to move forward, right? But what if? Sigh….