Denard Robinson

NFL Workout Updates: 11/9/17

Today’s workout updates, with all links going to veteran NFL reporter Howard Balzer’s Twitter account:

New England Patriots

Los Angeles Rams

  • LB Zach Vigil (Friday) (link via Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle)

San Francisco 49ers

Washington Redskins

Cowboys Won’t Sign RBs “At This Time”

The Cowboys worked out a pair of veteran running backs yesterday, but it doesn’t sound like a signing is imminent. According to’s Todd Archer (via Twitter), the Cowboys are not planning on signing either Ronnie Hillman or Denard Robinson “at this time.”

Ronnie Hillman (vertical)The workouts could have purely been exploratory, especially when you consider that the Cowboys are rostering an impressive trio of running backs in Ezekiel Elliott, Alfred Morris, and Darren McFadden. For what it’s worth, the team did carry four running backs last season, with Lance Dunbar (who has since signed with the Rams) collecting 31 rushing yards on nine carries while also catching 16 passes for 122 yards. The Cowboys are also currently rostering undrafted running back Jahad Thomas and fullback Keith Smith.

Of course, the Cowboys could also be looking to cover their tracks in case Elliott is suspended. We learned yesterday that the NFL’s investigation was wrapping up, although we probably won’t learn of any discipline until next week. The organization could simply be delaying a running back signing until they get more clarity on their 22-year-old star.

Neither Robinson or Hillman were particularly productive last season. Hillman appeared in eight games with the Chargers and Vikings, compiling only 131 yards on 41 carries. Robinson finished the season with 144 yards on the same amount of attempts. The two running backs have plenty of pass-catching experience, with the duo having combined for four 20-plus reception seasons.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cowboys Work Out RB Denard Robinson

The Cowboys worked out former Jaguars running back Denard Robinson on Thursday, Jane Slater of tweets. Denard Robinson

Dallas is pretty well set at running back as star Ezekiel Elliott is supported by a pair of former 1,000-yard rushers in Alfred Morris and Darren McFadden. It’s possible that the Cowboys are looking at Robinson as someone who can compete for fourth RB spot (if they carry four on the final roster) along with undrafted rookie Jahad Thomas and RB/FB Rod Smith. The Cowboys enjoyed the luxury of having four talented backs on the roster last year, but they’re slightly thinner now that Lance Dunbar is with the Rams. Someone like Robinson could also fill a temporary role on the roster if Elliott is suspended for any length of time.

Robinson, 27 in September, posted the second-worst YPC (3.5) of his career in 2016 off of 41 attempts. In 2014, however, he had a productive year as he averaged 4.3 yards per carry.

The former Michigan star worked out for the Bears in May and the Jets in June, but left both auditions without signing.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jets Looking At Denard Robinson

The Jets want to see what running back Denard Robinson has to offer. The former Michigan standout is working out for Gang Green this week, according to his agents (on Twitter). Denard Robinson

[RELATED: Jets Release WR Eric Decker]

Robinson, 27 in September, will participate in the Jets’ three-day mandatory minicamp and try to make a solid impression on coaches. After making a name for himself as a quarterback at Michigan, Robinson converted to running back for the Jaguars.

The fifth-round pick appeared in 55 of the Jaguars’ 64 games in that span and made 13 starts, with the bulk of his career 263 carries coming in 2014. That season, Robinson piled up 135 rushes for 582 yards – good for a quality YPC of 4.3 – scored four touchdowns and totaled a personal-high 23 catches. Unfortunately, Robinson’s production has dipped since then, as he posted the second-worst YPC (3.5) of his career in 2016 off of 41 attempts.

The Jets have a pretty crowded group in the backfield, particularly after adding Jordan Todman on Monday. Still, Robinson is hoping to find his way on to the 90-man roster in New York.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bears To Try Out Denard Robinson

Free agent running back Denard Robinson will be among the Bears’ tryout players at rookie minicamp, tweets Rich Campbell of the Chicago Tribune.

Denard Robinson

The 26-year-old Robinson, formerly a quarterback at Michigan, spent the first four seasons of his career in Jacksonville after it selected him in the fifth round of the 2013 draft. Robinson appeared in 55 of the Jaguars’ 64 games in that span and made 13 starts, with the lion’s share of his 263 carries coming in 2014. That season, Robinson piled up 135 rushes for 582 yards – good for a quality YPC of 4.3 – scored four touchdowns and totaled a personal-high 23 catches. Robinson’s production has waned since then, as he posted the second-worst YPC (3.5) of his career last year on 41 attempts and hauled in only three receptions.

As was the case in Jacksonville, Robinson would be a backup in Chicago if he were to improbably make the team. Starter Jordan Howard was quietly among the best backs in the NFL as a rookie last year, but neither Jeremy Langford nor Ka’Deem Carey did much behind him. They remain in the fold, while free agent pickup Benny Cunningham is aboard as a newcomer.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Top 2017 Free Agents By Position 3.0: Offense

The initial wave of NFL free agency is now complete, and while many of the league’s top available players are now off the board, there are still plenty of quality options still on the open market.

Listed below are our rankings for the top 15 free agents at each offensive position. These rankings aren’t necessarily determined by the value of the contracts – or the amount of guaranteed money – that each player is expected to land in free agency. These are simply the players we like the most at each position, with both short- and long-term value taken into account.

Restricted and exclusive-rights free agents, as well as players who received the franchise tag, aren’t listed here, since the roadblocks in place to hinder another team from actually acquiring most of those players prevent them from being true free agents.

We’ll almost certainly be higher or lower on some free agents than you are, so feel free to weigh in below in our comments section to let us know which players we’ve got wrong.

Here’s our breakdown of the current top 15 free agents by offensive position for 2017:


  1. Jay Cutler
  2. Chase Daniel
  3. Ryan Fitzpatrick
  4. Colin Kaepernick
  5. Josh McCown
  6. Robert Griffin III
  7. Case Keenum
  8. Matt McGloin
  9. Mark Sanchez
  10. Christian Ponder
  11. Blaine Gabbert
  12. Ryan Nassib
  13. Shaun Hill
  14. Kellen Moore
  15. Austin Davis

Tony Romo is not a free agent…at least not yet. If the Cowboys do not find a suitable trade and release him, you’ll find him at the top of this list.

Laugh if you must, but Cutler is far and away the best quarterback available on the open market. While most of this year’s QB-needy teams are done with their free agent shopping, the Jets are still searching for their 2017 starter and no one would make more sense for them than Cutler. He’s not all that far removed from playing solid football and he’s a logical transitional option for the Jets until they can isolate a better, younger option for 2018. Jay Cutler (Vertical)

Kaepernick’s reps wisely told the press that he will be standing for the National Anthem this year. Still, Kaepernick is an outspoken guy who wants to use his platform to discuss hot button issues, so there’s no guarantee that the media circus around him will cease. Jets owner Woody Johnson loves seeing his team on the back pages of the New York tabloids, but even he has to have more sense than to entertain Kaepernick. McCown, who has been contact with the team, would be an okay choice if they can’t get something done with Cutler. Chase Daniel could be an option too, but there isn’t much game film on him.

Needless to say, the No. 3 ranked player on this list isn’t an option in New York.

Running back:

  1. Adrian Peterson
  2. LeGarrette Blount
  3. Jamaal Charles
  4. Rashad Jennings
  5. Tim Hightower
  6. DeAngelo Williams
  7. Chris Johnson
  8. Christine Michael
  9. Benny Cunningham
  10. Bobby Rainey
  11. Brandon Bolden
  12. Denard Robinson
  13. James Starks
  14. Matt Asiata
  15. Kenjon Barner

Honorable mention: DuJuan Harris, Antonio AndrewsKhiry Robinson

Adrian Peterson (vertical)The Vikings have moved on and Peterson will not be back in Minnesota. Where he goes from here is anyone’s guess. When Peterson’s option was declined by the Vikings earlier this month, there were tons of stories (likely sourced by Peterson’s camp) about interest from a litany of contenders. Since then, each team – through anonymous sources – has denied being in the mix for the veteran. It would be easy to doubt Peterson at this juncture, but he has come back from serious injuries multiple times in his career and he is only one year removed from his stellar 2015 campaign. He gets the top spot over the bruising Blount as well as Charles, who hasn’t been healthy in a long while.

Jennings was brought to New York with the idea that he would be the team’s workhorse. Unfortunately, two of his three seasons with the G-Men were marred by injury. Jennings is currently putting his agility to good use on Dancing With The Stars and it remains to be seen how committed he is to football. After that, we have a trio of vets (Hightower, Williams, CJ2K) who could still advance the ball in limited spurts.

In case you’re wondering – Mike Gillislee is not listed here because he is a restricted free agent.

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Top 2017 Free Agents By Position 2.0: Offense

NFL free agency is right around the corner! The legal tampering period starts on Tuesday and free agency officially starts on Thursday. The list of available free agents will change between now and then as players re-sign with teams or get cut loose, but we have a pretty good idea of who will be available right now. After looking at the top defensive players, we now shift our attention to the other side of the ball.

Here are our rankings for the top 15 free agents at each position. The rankings aren’t determined by earning power, they are simply the players we like the most at each position, with a combination of short- and long-term value taken into account. You won’t find restricted free agents or franchise tagged guys here since they are unlikely to go leave their current clubs.

Player evaluation is always subjective, so we encourage you to make your voices heard in the comments section in cases where you disagree with us.

Here’s our breakdown of the current top 15 free agents by offensive position for 2017:

Updated 3-7-2017, 2:55pm CT


  1. Mike Glennon
  2. Nick Foles
  3. Brian Hoyer (story)
  4. Ryan Fitzpatrick
  5. Colin Kaepernick
  6. Josh McCown
  7. Case Keenum
  8. Matt McGloin
  9. Mark Sanchez
  10. Ryan Mallett
  11. Christian Ponder
  12. Blaine Gabbert
  13. Geno Smith
  14. Matt Schaub (story)
  15. EJ Manuel

Honorable mention: Ryan Nassib, Landry JonesShaun Hill Mike Glennon (vertical)

Colin Kaepernick’s agents have (wisely) let everyone know that their client will stand for the National Anthem in 2017. That may seem like a minor point, but teams say they would have automatically removed him from consideration if he continued his attention-grabbing protest. He grabbed headlines for his actions on the sidelines last year, but he actually turned in an OK season. From a football standpoint, Kaepernick would make sense for a lot of teams as a QB2 with upside.

Interestingly, this list includes three quarterbacks who couldn’t cut it as the Jets’ starter and three rejects from the 49ers. They say that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure and all six of those players (Ryan Fitzpatrick, Kaepernick, Mark Sanchez, Geno Smith, Christian Ponder, Blaine Gabbert) come with varying degrees of potential and proven effectiveness. Smith, somehow, could reportedly be retained by the Jets and installed as the starter in 2017.

Ryan Nassib is just outside of the top 15 here with EJ Manuel getting the final spot. Despite positive word about his play in practice, Nassib is unproven and the Giants’ apparent lack of interest in re-signing him says a lot. It’s also possible that he might not be 100% after ending the 2016 season on IR with an elbow injury. Manuel, for all his warts, has shown potential in small bursts.

Running back:

  1. Eddie Lacy
  2. Adrian Peterson
  3. LeGarrette Blount
  4. Latavius Murray
  5. Jamaal Charles
  6. Darren McFadden
  7. Jacquizz Rodgers
  8. Rex Burkhead
  9. Rashad Jennings
  10. Danny Woodhead
  11. Tim Hightower
  12. DeAngelo Williams
  13. Andre Ellington
  14. Chris Johnson
  15. Christine Michael

Honorable mention: Robert Turbin, Travaris Cadet, Benny Cunningham, Lance Dunbar, Bobby Rainey, Brandon BoldenDenard Robinson, James Starks

Adrian Peterson (vertical)As expected, the Vikings have cut Adrian Peterson loose and he is expected to garner interest from contending clubs this week. Some might peg Peterson as the most talented running back in this year’s free agent class, but it all comes down to how you weigh his age and injury history. Peterson has shocked the football world in the past with an incredible comeback, but I’m a little skeptical of his ability to do it again in his age-32 season. Eddie Lacy, who has injury question marks of his own, takes the top spot at the position.

The Patriots believe they won’t be able to match the offers that come in LeGarrette Blount‘s direction. Latavius Murray could circle back to the Raiders, but he won’t be agreeing to a deal with them before free agency opens on Thursday.

Jamaal Charles has the most impressive resume of anyone on this list, with the exception of Peterson. However, no one knows exactly what he can do after playing eight games in the last two years. He’ll turn 31 in December and that’s usually not an indicator of success for running backs.

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Jags Notes: Skuta, Robinson, Davis, Jackson

Dan Skuta faced a misdemeanor battery charge after a June 19 arrest, but the Jaguars linebacker saw his case dismissed once the prosecution declined to pursue charges, according to an report. The 30-year-old Skuta was accused of pushing a woman’s face into a glass window, an allegation he denied. However, Assistant State Attorney Natalie Lord categorized the case as one “not suitable for prosecution.”

Skuta’s lawyers wrote the eighth-year defender didn’t receive special consideration in this matter.

Here’s more from north Florida’s NFL franchise.

  • Not determined to be impaired after driving a car into a retention pond earlier this month, Denard Robinson received a citation for careless driving, Joe Daraskevich of the Florida Times-Union reports. The officer issuing the citation was the same one who determined the Jaguars running back was not impaired, writes Daraskevich, who notes Robinson accepted the citation. An investigation into the police officers’ conduct on the morning of July 3, when Robinson and a female companion were found asleep in a car that was drifting into a pond, remains ongoing, however.
  • Ryan Davis joins Skuta, Myles Jack, Telvin Smith, Paul Posluszny as linebackers who are essentially locks to make the 53-man roster, Ryan O’Halloran of the Times-Union writes. The fifth-year performer signed the second-round tender ($2.55MM) the Jaguars placed on him this offseason as an RFA. Jacksonville moved him to linebacker this offseason after he previously functioned as a defensive end. Davis, who has registered 11 career sacks, is expected to back up Skuta on the strong side. It’s an interesting move for Davis, who has dropped weight this offseason, since the 27-year-old ex-UDFA has experience lining up as a defensive tackle in sub packages for the Jags. Although Davis is still expected to play some defensive end, the team is expected to deploy a healthy Dante Fowler Jr., adding to a deeper defensive front.
  • The Jags paid Malik Jackson a lot of money to serve as their primary interior pass-rushing threat, and both Tania Ganguli and Paul Kuharsky of rate the former Broncos versatile lineman is the AFC South’s top newcomer. Jackson’s experience as a 4-3 defensive tackle in 2013 will serve him well in his expected role in Jacksonville. He moved to the 4-3 defensive end spot in 2014 with the Broncos and saw his stock rise exponentially as a 3-4 end in Wade Phillips‘ scheme last season.
  • How far have the Jaguars come this offseason? Have they done enough to challenge the Texans or Colts for a division title? Check out PFR’s Jaguars Offseason in Review.

South Notes: Coleman, Luck, Robinson, Lewan

In his sixth NFL season, safety Kurt Coleman enjoyed something of a career renaissance with the Panthers, starting 15 games while posting seven interceptions, good for second in the NFL. With Josh Norman and Roman Harper no longer around, Coleman will be counted on to act as a veteran leader in Carolina’s secondary, and though he’s entering the final year of his contract, he’s not worried about inking a new deal.

“I respect everyone that’s involved in the process and I’m trusting that both sides are going to do what’s right and what’s fair,” Coleman told Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer. “Honestly, it’s out of my hands. My job isn’t to negotiate. I probably wouldn’t be that good at it. My personal feelings might get (involved). I just control what I can control.”

As Roster Resource shows, the Panthers will be relying on players with little to no NFL experience in the defensive backfield. Bene Benwikere, Tre Boston, James Bradberry, and Daryl Worley are among the defenders who will need to contribute in 2016, and that lack of pedigree is one reason I pegged Carolina as a logical landing spot for free agent safety Donte Whitner.

Here’s more from the NFL’s two South divisions:

  • After driving into a retention pond and preceding to fall asleep Sunday morning, Jaguars running back Denard Robinson was — somewhat surprisingly — determined to not be impaired while at the wheel, as Joe Daraskevich of the Florida Times-Union reported. Robinson and a passenger were apparently both found asleep at around 4:20am on Sunday, and each reportedly dismissed an officer’s attempt to remove them from the car. “I should not have been driving that late or when I was that tired, but again, I’m just glad that everyone was safe,” Robinson said in part.
  • While Andrew Luck‘s new contract set a new NFL record in terms of average annual value, many observers were surprised that the Colts quarterback didn’t receive more (in either guarantees or yearly salary). Personally, I count myself among those that believe that Luck could have held out for a larger payday, but former agent Joel Corry (now a contributor) has a different take. “I’m surprised that so many people seem so underwhelmed by the deal, because it did establish new benchmarks and certain parameters,” Corry told Ben Volin of the Boston Globe, pointing to Luck’s cash flow and effective guarantees as positives in the contract.
  • Titans left tackle Taylor Lewan is exhibiting a new level of maturity, and head coach Mike Mularkey has noticed the change, as Terry McCormick of writes. Meanwhile, Mularkey said that eighth overall pick Jack Conklin‘s development on the right side has gone “smoothly,” according to John Glennon the Tennessean. PFR recently took its own look at Conklin and the other Titans first-year players in our Impact Rookies segment.

Jags Notes: Beachum, Joeckel, Cyprien, Sample

The Jaguars won’t have a competition at left tackle between Luke Joeckel and free agent pickup Kelvin Beachum, according to Ryan O’Halloran of Instead, the job will belong to Beachum if he’s able to return successfully from a torn ACL. Beachum – who signed a unique deal earlier this month that could be worth either $4.5MM for one year or $44.5MM over five years – said Friday that he does indeed expect to start when Week 1 rolls around in September. That’s bad news for Joeckel, who has started in all 35 career appearances since the Jaguars drafted him second overall in 2013. The 24-year-old hasn’t lived up to his draft status, though, and could end up in a reserve role in 2016.

Here are more notes on the Jaguars, all of which come courtesy of O’Halloran:

  • Jacksonville must decide by early May whether to exercise Joeckel’s fifth-year option for 2017, but O’Halloran expects the club to decline it because doing otherwise would kill the lineman’s trade value. If the Jags pick up the option, it would guarantee Joeckel upward of $11MM in 2017, though only in the event of a serious injury. Teams wouldn’t want to risk acquiring Joeckel and being stuck with that kind of financial commitment in the event of a nightmare scenario like, say, a torn Achilles. On the other hand, a version of Joeckel who doesn’t come with a 2017 option attached might appeal to clubs looking for help at left tackle next season.
  • Like Joeckel, safety Jonathan Cyprien could go from No. 1 to backup in 2016. Cyprien, a second-rounder in 2012, has started all 44 of his appearances, but he seems in danger of losing his job to James Sample. Cyprien had a team-high 21 missed tackles last season and hasn’t established himself as a playmaker, O’Halloran notes. As a fourth-rounder last year, Sample doesn’t have Cyprien’s draft pedigree, and he only appeared in four games (two starts) as a rookie because of a shoulder injury. Nonetheless, he has an important fan in head coach Gus Bradley. “We’ve seen flashes of Sample,” Bradley said. “His instincts — he’s a very good football player. In similar ways to Dante [Fowler], Sample is like another draft pick coming in.”
  • Denard Robinson was second to T.J. Yeldon among Jags running backs with 88 touches (67 rushes, 21 receptions) and 430 total yards last season, but the acquisition of Chris Ivory could make playing time scarce. Bradley insists the team isn’t going to phase Robinson out of its offense, though. “He’ll get in there, too,” Bradley said. “He’s our speed back. Again, a different style of running back.”