Jalen Robinette

Extra Points: Agholor, Eagles, Steelers, Robinette

Some assorted notes from around the NFL…

  • The Eagles signed free agent wideouts Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith this offseason, putting former first-rounder Nelson Agholor‘s spot on the depth chart in doubt. However, the 24-year-old made it clear that he embraces the competition. “I think I was worried about taking such a large leap in a day. It’s all about getting better consistently each day, even if it’s just a little bit,” Agholor told ESPN.com’s Tim McManus. “Some of the best players in this league, they didn’t just become really great the first day they’re there. It took a process and continuous progression every day, so that’s my focus right now.” In 28 career games, Agholor has collected 59 receptions for 648 yards and three touchdowns.
  • Earlier this offseason, the Eagles signed safety Rodney McLeod to a five-year, $37MM deal ($17MM guaranteed). The team has apparently slightly altered the contract to open up some cap space, as Jason Fitzgerald of OverTheCap.com tweets that the team saved $2.4MM by converting $3.225M of his salary into a bonus.
  • There have been whispers that the Steelers could convert William Gay to safety or even release the veteran. However, as Chris Bradford of the Beaver County Times notes, the 32-year-old is seemingly still the team’s slot cornerback ahead of Senquez Golson and Cameron Sutton. Gay has spent 10 seasons with the Steelers, and last year was the first time since 2010 that he started less than 10 games.
  • We learned yesterday that The Air Force Academy had barred wideout Jalen Robinette from graduating, putting both his Air Force and NFL future in doubt. Following the announcement, the player’s agency released a statement to Nicki Jhabvala of The Denver Post: “Jalen Robinette is currently awaiting a determination on a non-criminal disciplinary proceeding. Jalen continues to look forward to serving the country that he loves and remains committed and loyal to the United States Air Force.” Robinette finished his collegiate career as the team’s all-time leader in receiving yards.

Latest On Air Force WR Jalen Robinette

The Air Force Academy has blocked wide receiver Jalen Robinette from graduating for unknown reasons, as Nicki Jhabvala of The Denver Post details. The decision has put his professional football future in limbo. Jalen Robinette (vertical)

Cadet Robinette was removed from the graduation lineup after academy leadership became aware of information that called into question cadet Robinette’s eligibility/qualification to graduate and commission,” Bowden said. “Cadet Robinette’s graduation and commissioning will be placed on hold while we further evaluate. Due to privacy-related concerns, we are unable to comment on the circumstances. We can say that the circumstances do not involve any allegations of criminal wrongdoing and are unrelated to cadet Robinette’s professional football pursuits.”

Heading into the draft, Robinette was seen as a potential Day 3 pick. Unfortunately for him, the Department of Defense rescinded a rule change from 2016 which allowed for players from the service academies to defer their service in order to pursue professional sports. After he was blocked from immediately jumping to the NFL, he intended on going to the U.S. Air Force Academy Preparatory School as a graduate assistant. Now that his graduation has been put on hold, he could wind up having to serve as an enlisted member of the Air Force. Alternatively, he could be asked to pay back his tuition to the academy. The latter scenario wouldn’t be ideal for Robinette, but he could theoretically go pro and pay back his tuition with whatever signing bonus he receives.

Earlier this year, Robinette competed in rookie minicamps for the Patriots and Bills with the hope that he would be signed to a three-year undrafted free agent contract and placed on the reserve/military list while he fulfilled his active duty.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bills Giving Air Force WR Jalen Robinette Tryout

Jalen Robinette looked like a player set to be at worst a Day 3 pick entering draft week, but after a Department of Defense 11th-hour ruling, the standout Air Force wide receiver went undrafted. The reversal of a policy that allowed Navy’s Keenan Reynolds a path toward the Ravens’ roster as a rookie meant Robinette and fellow military academy-developed prospects could not be drafted.

But the Bills are taking a look at the yards-per-catch dynamo as part of their rookie camp, Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post notes. One of 25 rookies the Bills are examining this weekend, Robinette may well have to wait until the 2019 season if this Buffalo setup ends up working out.

The Eagles also invited Air Force safety Weston Steelhammer to their rookie camp, and the Cardinals extended the same opportunity to linebacker Ryan Watson, per Jhabvala. Both of those rookie camps are also unfolding this weekend.

The new policy, similar to the one that required former Air Force (and current Falcons) lineman Ben Garland to serve two years before joining the 2012 Broncos, would force these talents to serve for 24 months before being eligible to pursue a professional sports career. Garland signed with the 2010 Broncos as a UDFA and was placed on the team’s reserve/military list before returning two years later.

However, Jhabvala reports that Robinette’s agent, David Lisko, is attempting to get the receiver and the rest of this class of military academy athletes grandfathered in under the old D.O.D. policy, since that’s the one the athletes were operating under this offseason. These athletes would need to have a professional contract to be eligible for the Ready Reserve program, which allows for the delay of service time. Teams at the most keep a few rookie-tryout players out of the dozens generally invited, so the trio has an uphill battle this weekend.

That said, someone like Robinette could be appealing since he was a projected draft pick. The 6-foot-3 target averaged 27.4 yards per catch — en route to 959 yards and six receiving touchdowns — last season.

Air Force Changes Rules For Athletes

The Air Force Academy decided just before the NFL draft it will not allow its athletes defer two years of active duty to immediately join a pro team, according to Nicki Jhabvala of The Denver Post (via Twitter links). The rule change immediately impacts Air Force wide receiver Jalen Robinette, a draft hopeful. Jalen Robinette (vertical)

The Air Force notified Academy officials (Thursday) that the service would not approve requests to waiver active duty military service commitments for cadet athletes,” the Academy said in a statement (via Yahoo Sports). “Cadets will be required to serve two years active duty prior to entering Ready Reserve status, which would permit their participation in professional sports. “The Air Force places tremendous value on our cadet athletes and their contributions to the nation as we continue to build leaders of character, engage in combat operations overseas and continue to ensure our highest military readiness at home.”

Last year’s update to the Department of Defense policy allowed service academy players to fulfill their duty requirements on reserve status instead of active duty. However, the Air Force said that it would evaluate each situation on a case by case basis. Today’s news is likely disappointing for Robinette since he has been readying himself for the NFL all year.