Massimo Russo goes deep inside the helmet on why the Cowboys should re-sign unrestricted free agent Laurent Robinson
Out of the eleven unrestricted free agents the team has heading into the off-season, the one player that stands out most is wide receiver Laurent Robinson. The Cowboys signed Robinson to provide insurance at a position that was lacking depth heading into the 2011 season for a one year contract of $685,000. A good move it was, as Robinson would later get his chance to showcase his talent when he stepped in as the #2 receiver for the injured Miles Austin.
After disappointing years with the Atlanta Falcons who drafted him in 07 and the St. Louis Rams mainly being known as an injury prone player, as a Cowboy, Robinson sported his best season of his five year career, catching 54-balls for 858-yards and the main highlighted stat, 11-touchdowns tied for fourth most in the league. So why should the Cowboys re-sign Robinson? It’s hard to find a player that can fill the void of an injured top player at the position and produce. Robinson got better as the weather got colder and when the games became more meaningful in terms of standings and playoff hopes, Robinson became quarterback Tony Romo’s “X-Factor” connecting big on critical passing downs, particularly in the red zone.
Although receiver may not be the concern for Cowboys this off-season, Robinson is one of those special players that every team needs to help win the critical division, and conference games that could make the difference of making the postseason or not. That’s what having an “X-Factor is, the extra option that comes up big when all the attention is on the top players. With all the key factors on Robinson’s forte being said, whether the team decides to keep him depends on the money Robinson is asking for, and it might be more than #3 receiver type cash.
Team Owner Jerry Jones has made it clear that he intends to spend the big bucks on other areas of the team that are of more concern, and that’s mainly in the secondary and offensive line. So if Robinson’s major upswing performance in 2011 has him asking for the big bucks, the team may let him walk as they may not have enough cap space to address other areas of need. Robinson’s agent, Harold Lewis has indicated recently that the receiver has performed enough to be a sought out player, giving indication that Robinson will be looking for more cash than just a third option at the position.
Eleven visits to the end zone is a large number for any receiver, and the Cowboys should think twice about considering letting Robinson walk. If they decide to let him wonder free into the market, the team will be back at square one looking for depth at receiver, something they should try to avoid considering the fact that Dez Bryant and Miles Austin have had their share of missed time due to injuries. So don’t let the “X-Factor” go.