The Jacksonville Jaguars signed ex-Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Laurent Robinson on Thursday evening to a five-year, $32.5 million deal with $14 million in guaranteed money. It's a risky move for the Jaguars, given that Robinson has a long injury history, has bounced from team to team, and has just one productive season in his short career but it was a necessary risk. The Jaguars had to do something at the wide receiver position and the market dictated the team had to overspend.
The heavy interest and courting in Robinson has left many to wonder that if Jaguars general manager Gene Smith like Robinson so much, why did he never pursue him the handful of other times he was available? Robinson was a street free agent last season, twice, and there was never any reported interest from the Jaguars. Now, the Jaguars liked him enough to give him one of the bigger free agent wide receiver contracts in free agency.
So what changed?The only logical explanation of what could have changed is the addition of new head coach Mike Mularkey and wide receivers coach Jerry Sullivan. Mularkey worked with Robinson in Atlanta, where the receiver was buried on the depth chart and battled injuries. Robinson also worked with Jerry Sullivan at the Larry Fitzgerald passing camp during the 2011 NFL Lockout. Following that camp, Robinson joined a long list of receivers who had a fantastic season following that camp, such as Sidney Rice, Dwayne Bowe, and Greg Jennings.
One has to believe that the sudden movement from lack of interest to priority target had to be because of Jerry Sullivan being in the ear of Gene Smith. Robinson is a tremendous talent, who was able to show it while finally staying healthy in Dallas, but he'll now need to show the signing wasn't a risk and last season wasn't a fluke, but just the beginning.