I am usually hesitant to talk about the offseason during the season, especially in a year where the Jacksonville Jaguars are in contention. However, with the recent events of this past bye week, which includes the Telvin Smith extension, and trading for Marcell Dareus, these moves affect the Jaguars cap going forward, and also who they will be able to re-sign.
Let’s take a look at a few intriguing guys.
Not only was Robinson’s torn ACL in the opener a huge blow to the Jaguars offense, but it also was a huge blow for the potential earnings of Robinson himself. There is still a chance the Jaguars offer him a decent amount of guaranteed money as a sign of loyalty, but this will be this most interesting negotiation process the Jaguars have this offseason.
This will come to what the Jaguars want, and what is most important to Robinson. Does Robinson want a one year prove it deal? Or does he value long term security? Would the Jaguars prefer the one year deal? Or maybe a long term one, with a slight discount? Getting on the same page of what each side wants will be huge in this process.
One perk of extending Telvin at this point is that the Jaguars can use the franchise tag on Robinson if need be. Although, with the potential franchise tag for receivers being near $17 million, I am not sure the Jaguars would necessarily want to have that big of a cap hit.
No matter how they get it done, I fully expect Robinson to be back next season. They can’t afford to let Robinson test the open market, as teams with boatloads of cap space like the Cleveland Browns or San Francisco 49ers can offer a deal that the Jaguars just are not comfortable with.
I expect it to be a one year prove it deal, but we will have to see what each side values the most. There is not much of a precedent for a receiver coming off an ACL injury heading into free agency of Robinson’s caliber, but I’d expect Robinson would be looking for at least double digits in AAV, if not even more.
Lee has had an interesting tenure during his time on this team. His first two seasons were injury plagued, and many fans lamented his lack of time of the field. His third season was a huge turnaround for his perception, as Lee had somewhat of a breakout season, and was the Jaguars’ best offensive player in 2016 (which is not saying much).
This year has been up and down for Lee, as it has been harder for him when Robinson is not on the other side to constantly draw the most attention, and draw the other teams best corner.
Lee has talent but he has not been consistent enough to warrant a new contract without a decent discount. Lee is the classic case of a guy who is probably more valuable to another team than the Jaguars next season. He will most likely hit the open market, and his price will be driven up. I can think of several teams who could use a number two receiver, who would probably be willing to take the chance on Lee.
Keeping both Robinson and Lee was always going to be a hard task, but these are the decisions teams have to make when they don’t have a monstrous of cap space. Lee is a solid receiver, and he is probably the best healthy guy on the roster right now. But with Hurns already under contract, Dede Westbrook for the cheap on his rookie deal, and Robinson most likely back, there may not be enough resources to retain Lee for what he may think he is worth. I look at Robert Woods contract as a good benchmark for Lee in free agency. Woods signed a five-year, $39 million dollar deal this offseason with the Los Angeles Rams, as someone who entered the market clearly as a number two receiver.
If it is anything near that range, I think Lee walks.
Also, for those who think the Jaguars should just release Hurns, and then re-sign Lee, I think that philosophy is flawed for two reasons. First, I think that the separation between Hurns and Lee on the talent spectrum is minimal, so clearly choosing one over the other is not that obvious. Also, Hurns’ contract is an asset, and re-signing Lee would add more guaranteed money on the books, which could effect the Jaguars potentially flexibility.
At the end of the day, I think Lee will find a better suitor on the open market. He will be smart to test what is out there, and while he is a good piece, he is not someone you lose sleep over losing in free agency.
I remember being extremely excited when the Jaguars drafted Colvin, as I felt the value of getting a guy many thought would be a second-rounder in the fourth was worth the risk, especially for a rebuilding team in desperate need of talent. Colvin has started at the outside for the Jaguars, but mostly the last two years been moved into solely a nickel corner.
Colvin is having his most effective season so far, and while teams tend to pick on him because of the threat of Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye, he’s held his own for the most part.
His teammates in the secondary tend to value Colvin too as he regularly gets a shout out from other members of the secondary for being an underrated player in this league.
Colvin has played well in his role this year, and if his agent wants to make him some money, he might want to show teams copies of the Pittsburgh Steelers from this year, which I believe was Colvin’s best game of his career.
Colvin’s market will completely depend on how teams view him as a corner. Colvin believes he can play on the outside, and a team may believe he can as well. The most a nickel corner has ever gotten paid in my recent memory was Buster Skrine, who signed a four-year, $25 million dollar deal with the New York Jets, with $13 million guaranteed. If it is anything in that range, I think the Jaguars let him walk. If the AAV is under 5 million, the Jaguars may feel comfortable retaining him, and banking on continuity in the secondary taking them to an ultra elite level.
As with Lee, Colvin will be smart to test the open market. Maybe the Jaguars try to get a deal done before that period, in a deal similar to the on Abry Jones got, which was a 4 year-16 million dollar deal. I know they play different positions, but both play probably a similar amount of snaps, and the AAV would be about in that range for a fair deal for the Jaguars and Colvin.
Depending on how he plays this year, Colvin could have somewhat of a robust market this offseason. With so much already invested in the secondary, I can see the Jaguars biting the bullet, and figuring they can find a nickel corner for the cheap somewhere else.
At the end of the day, I would only expect one of these three guys to be back, and that person should be Allen Robinson. Lee and Colvin have been useful players, but signing them long term will most likely not be at the top of the priority list this offseason.
If you were running the Jaguars, would you try to re-sign these players? And if so, for how much? Let us know in the comment section, and the likely hood that you feel that each player will be back.