Jawaan Taylor

RT Jawaan Taylor Addresses Chiefs Deal

Kansas City made additions at both tackle spots in free agency this offseason, including a big-money deal for Jawaan Taylor. The former Jaguar is set for a new chapter in his football career, one which involves a change of scenery he is excited for.

The 25-year-old was one of the top offensive tackles in this year’s free agent class, and his Kanas City contract (four years, $80MM) reflected that. It initially seemed as though Taylor would assume left tackle duties for the Chiefs after they lost Orlando Brown Jr. to the Bengals. Instead, the signing of veteran Donovan Smith to man the blindside will keep Taylor in his familiar RT role, one previously occupied by Andrew Wylie.

“I just wanted to embrace change,” the latter said about his decision to sign with the Chiefs, via ESPN’s Adam Teicher“I never lived outside of Florida ever in my life. To have the opportunity to come and try something new and be [in] a great organization, I was all for it.”

A Florida alum, Taylor played in Jacksonville for the first four years of his career. He operated as the team’s full-time starter on the right side, and expectations will be high for him given his contract and the demands of playing an important role in Kansas City’s vaunted offense. His enthusiasm to join the Chiefs represents an interesting juxtaposition to his stated desire to remain with the Jaguars, but his play in 2023 will nevertheless be worth watching closely.

After his release ended an eight-year run with the Buccaneers, Smith inked a one-year contract to give him an opportunity to rebuild his value after a disappointing 2022 campaign. Depending on how he fares in his new home, Smith could find himself elsewhere next year, something which could open the door to Taylor making a switch to the blindside. For now, though, he will be subject to plenty of scrutiny on the right side as he looks to prove the Chiefs’ investment in him to be a sound one.

Chiefs Notes: Taylor, Smith, Pacheco, Anudike-Uzomah, Rice

The Chiefs had planned to move career right tackle Jawaan Taylor to the left side. Instead, they are flipping their tackle salary structure. Donovan Smith is now in the fold, and Taylor is now the NFL’s second-highest-paid right tackle.

Andy Reid confirmed (via ESPN’s Adam Teicher) the Chiefs will begin their offseason work with Smith, signed to a one-year deal worth up to $9MM late last week, at left tackle and Taylor on the right side. Considering Smith has only played left tackle as a pro and Taylor spending his entire Jacksonville tenure as a right-sider, it is logical the Chiefs will not rock the boat here.

This is an about-face given the Chiefs’ initial Taylor plan, and while it is interesting the defending champions are abandoning it months before pads come on, Reid did leave the door open last month for Taylor to be kicked back to the right side. A right tackle at Florida and with the Jags, Taylor represents an upgrade for the Chiefs at that post.

Smith will replace Orlando Brown Jr. While the latter earned back-to-back Pro Bowl nods with the Chiefs, Smith manned the Buccaneers’ blindside spot for eight seasons. During an offseason in which the team needed to shed almost $60MM in cap space, Tampa Bay made Smith a cap casualty in early March. The soon-to-be 30-year-old blocker resided as one of the few players left unsigned among PFR’s top 50 free agents.

Kansas City making right tackle its top O-line investment deviates from recent years, when the team used low-cost vet Andrew Wylie and third-round pick Lucas Niang as its primary options at the position. But the Chiefs’ initial Patrick Mahomes Super Bowl-winning team did have two tackles — Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz — signed to veteran deals. While the team prioritized Brown in 2021 via the trade with the Ravens, right tackle did not bring similar attention. The Smith signing changes that, as Taylor signed the top O-line deal — AAV-wise, at $20MM — in free agency. Smith’s $9MM deal checks in at $4MM in base value, Albert Breer of SI.com notes.

Elsewhere on the Chiefs’ roster, Reid confirmed running back Isiah Pacheco and first-round defensive end Felix Anudike-Uzomah are recovering from surgeries. Pacheco underwent procedures to repair a broken hand and a torn labrum, James Palmer of NFL.com tweets. He does not have a return timetable, though the Chiefs do not sound concerned the 2022 seventh-round pick will miss regular-season time. Anudike-Uzomah, this year’s No. 31 overall pick, underwent thumb surgery before the draft and could be ready by the time the Chiefs begin OTAs later this month.

At receiver, the Chiefs had Mahomes work out with a few rookie prospects. Zay Flowers and Quentin Johnston were among those to train with the reigning MVP in Texas. But Chiefs second-round pick Rashee Rice also linked up with Mahomes for a pre-draft training session. The SMU product, whom the Chiefs took in the second round, formed a connection with the superstar quarterback, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com notes.

The Chiefs have now taken a second-round receiver in each of the past two drafts, with Rice following Skyy Moore. These two join Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Kadarius Toney as the Chiefs’ top receivers. Kansas City has been connected to a DeAndre Hopkins pursuit, but the Cardinals may now be prepared to keep him. The Chiefs, who lost J.J. Smith-Schuster and Mecole Hardman to the AFC East in free agency, are also preparing to give Toney — his injury past notwithstanding — a bigger role heading into his first full K.C. season.

OL Rumors: Taylor, Jags, 49ers, Cardinals

The Chiefs‘ previous left tackle blueprint centered around giving up significant assets to move a right tackle to the left side. Andy Reid has confirmed the team’s plans to complete a similar project. After a March report indicated the Chiefs were planning to move Jawaan Taylor to left tackle to replace Orlando Brown Jr., the 11th-year Chiefs HC said the ex-Jaguars blocker will indeed begin his Kansas City run as Patrick Mahomes‘ blindside protector.

Even though he was on the right side I think he can transfer over to the left side. He’s really a good athlete and I think he’s excited about that,” Reid said (h/t Chiefs Wire’s Charles Goldman) of Taylor. “Now, that doesn’t mean he can’t play the right side. If we got another left tackle, he could play the right side. He gives you flexibility. He could probably jump in at guard. He’s smart. He could probably play center.”

Taylor signed a monster contract — four years, $80MM, with $60MM guaranteed by March 2024 — to join the Super Bowl champions. If the four-year Jaguars right tackle starter stayed at that position, he would be the NFL’s second-highest-paid right-sider. Taylor primarily played right tackle at Florida as well. The Chiefs following through with their Taylor position switch gives them a need at Andrew Wylie‘s former spot; Kansas City’s 2022 right tackle is now in Washington.

Here is the latest O-line news from around the league:

  • Taylor’s former team has its top tackle coming off a season-ending injury. The Jaguars faced the Chiefs in January without left tackle Cam Robinson, who suffered a meniscus tear in December. As expected, the Jags have Robinson on track to be ready by training camp, James Palmer of NFL.com tweets. Robinson will be readying for his seventh season as the Jags’ primary right tackle.
  • Rather than move Taylor to left tackle last year, the Jags plugged in 2021 second-rounder Walker Little to replace Robinson. While Little would be poised to start opposite Robinson, seeing as he picked up some starts after losing a training camp battle to Taylor last year, Adam Caplan of ProFootballNetwork.com pegs the Jags as being most likely to pick an O-lineman or cornerback in Round 1. Caplan mocks Tennessee tackle Darnell Wright to Jacksonville.
  • Colton McKivitz is the not only the clubhouse leader to replace Mike McGlinchey as the 49ers‘ starting right tackle, Matt Barrows of The Athletic notes the team views the career backup as having a chance to provide a pass-blocking upgrade (subscription required). McGlinchey steadily received more praise for his run-blocking chops compared to his pass-pro work, though McKivitz has made five career starts. Then again, the 49ers got by with three interior O-linemen — Aaron Banks, Jake Brendel, Spencer Burford — that brought little experience to the mix. Second-year blocker Jaylon Moore should not be considered out of the mix, per Barrows, who ranks right tackle as the 49ers’ top position of need. But the recently re-signed McKivitz is the favorite. McGlinchey signed a five-year deal with the Broncos during the legal tampering period’s early hours.
  • While Jonathan Gannon did not seem to view center as a must-augment position, via ESPN.com’s Josh Weinfuss (on Twitter), the Cardinals seem likely to add an outside snapper after releasing Rodney Hudson. Arizona will add a center to the mix, Darren Urban of AZCardinals.com writes. Billy Price started 11 games for the Cardinals last season; the ex-first-rounder-turned-journeyman is no longer on the roster. The Cardinals do feature some continuity up front; they re-signed Will Hernandez and have starters D.J. Humphries, Kelvin Beachum and Josh Jones back ahead of OC Drew Petzing‘s first season at the helm.

Chiefs To Sign T Jawaan Taylor

9:17pm: As of now, the Chiefs are planning on shifting Taylor to left tackle, Albert Breer of SI.com notes. This will follow the team’s Brown blueprint, though Brown — primarily a right tackle in Baltimore — had taken some reps at left tackle after filling in for Ronnie Stanley in 2020. Brown also wanted to be traded due to the Ravens viewing him as a right tackle; no such mandate is known to have come from Taylor. The ascending pass protector also only started at left tackle twice while at Florida. While this plan is subject to change, Kansas City’s $20MM-AAV contract looks to be addressing Patrick Mahomes‘ blind side — rather than Taylor becoming the NFL’s highest-paid right tackle.

1:17pm: The Chiefs look to be shifting their financial balance to the right side of their offensive line. After not franchise-tagging Orlando Brown Jr. this year, Kansas City has agreed to terms with Jawaan Taylor.

The four-year Jaguars right tackle agreed to a four-year, $80MM deal with the Chiefs, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). This marks yet another splash move from Kansas City GM Brett Veach up front, and Taylor will join one of the NFL’s best O-lines.

Taylor, 25, will receive an $18.9MM signing bonus and earn a base salary of just $1.1MM in 2023, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. His 2024-26 bases each check in at $19.5MM, Yates adds. The latter three salaries stand to open the door for future restructures. Taylor will lock in $60MM in guarantees by March 2024, Breer adds.

Andrew Wylie, who served as Kansas City’s starting right tackle last season, just agreed to a Commanders deal. The Chiefs were aiming much higher, it turns out. Taylor, who has never missed a game in his pro career, has been the Jags’ right-side starter throughout his career. A 2019 Jacksonville second-round pick, the ex-Florida Gator will be expected to provide a big upgrade on Wylie.

Perhaps the more notable fallout from this signing: Brown appears headed out of Missouri. The Chiefs used their tag on the mammoth left tackle in 2022 but decided not to keep him off the market this year. Brown turned down a deal that would have made him the league’s highest-paid left tackle ahead of last July’s tag extension deadline. The former Ravens right tackle will now take a chance he can collect a better deal — presumably one with more guaranteed money, as he viewed that as the prime impediment toward re-upping with the Chiefs — on the market this week.

Right tackle doubled as one of the prize positions in free agency this year. The oft-derided free agency class carried Taylor, Mike McGlinchey and Kaleb McGary, however. Two of those blockers are now headed to the AFC West. McGlinchey agreed to a Broncos deal earlier Monday.

At $20MM per year, Taylor is now the NFL’s highest-paid right tackle. He profiled as the top right-side pass protector available this year, and a Chiefs team that two years ago authorized a guard-record contract (Joe Thuney‘s) in free agency is resetting the market at another blocking position. Taylor’s pact tops Ryan Ramczyk‘s 2021 Saints extension. Considering the profile gap between Ramczyk and Taylor, this is a massive bet on the latter’s best years coming in Kansas City. But the Chiefs now have their right tackle spot locked down. With Taylor, Thuney, Creed Humphrey and Trey Smith entrenched as starters up front, the team can shift its focus to determining its post-Brown solution on the blind side.

The Jaguars had attempted to keep Taylor, but given left tackle Cam Robinson‘s contract and the market that formed for Taylor, it is unsurprising the team was unable to keep him off the market. The Jags have Robinson coming back from a meniscus tear and could look to Walker Little to fill in on the right side.

OL Rumors: Taylor, McGlinchey, Pats, Powers

Right tackle will be one of this year’s top positional markets to monitor. One of the best players set to hit the market, Jawaan Taylor, is expected to do very well. The Jaguars blocker may move into position to command a deal worth at least $17MM on average, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com notes. The Jaguars used their franchise tag on Evan Engram, with that cost being $7MM cheaper than the O-line tag, but they are attempting to bring back Taylor. The former second-rounder has never missed a start as a pro and has earned plus grades for his pass protection. Although Pro Football Focus viewed Taylor as one of the league’s worst run-blockers last season, the advanced metrics site rates him as the eighth-best pass-protecting right tackle over the past two years.

The Jags already have Cam Robinson tied to a top-10 deal at left tackle, which will make keeping Taylor difficult. A deal at $17MM AAV would move Taylor into the top five at the position. Here is the latest from the O-line ranks:

  • Another of the top right-siders set to be hit the market, Mike McGlinchey is not expected to return to the 49ers. The Bears would be in position to outmuscle other suitors for the five-year starter’s services, holding a near-$30MM lead in cap space (at $94.7MM). McGlinchey should be expected to join Taylor on a deal north of $17MM per year, per Adam Jahns of The Athletic (subscription required). Kaleb McGary could profile as a slightly cheaper alternative, per Jahns, who notes Bears offensive line coach Chris Morgan was the Falcons’ O-line coach when they drafted the Michigan product in the 2019 first round. The Bears have gone through a few options at right tackle since releasing Bobby Massie in 2021. This represents a good year for the team to address the position.
  • Excepting their 2017 Stephon Gilmore payment and the 2021 spending frenzy, the Patriots are not known for deep dives into free agency pools. But they also look set to investigate the right tackle market. New England is seeking an upgrade here, Ben Volin of the Boston Globe notes, pointing out that the team is content on the interior (with center David Andrews and guards Michael Onwenu and Cole Strange). Trent Brown is still under contract on the left side. Beyond the top three RTs, Trey Pipkins, Kelvin Beachum and Andrew Wylie are ticketed for free agency. Isaiah Wynn is not expected back in New England, which is not exactly a surprise given his dismal contract year. The Pats hold more than $32MM in cap space, giving them some capital to use at this need area.
  • Currently carrying a $32.4MM Lamar Jackson franchise tag on their cap sheet, the Ravens should not be expected to retain their top free agent (now that Jackson is tagged). Ben Powers‘ quality contract year should lead to his Baltimore departure, Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic writes. Powers needed to win a left guard competition in training camp. Upon doing so, the former fourth-round pick proceeded to rank in the top 10 in run and pass block win rates, per ESPN. Powers, 26, will be one of the best guards available next week. The Ravens’ Jackson tag has them $9MM over the cap as of Wednesday afternoon.
  • USC tackle prospect Andrew Vorhees suffered a torn ACL while doing drills at the Combine, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. While Vorhees still managed to perform 38 reps in the bench press after the injury, this setback will undoubtedly hurt the top-100 prospect’s draft stock.

Jaguars Optimistic On Evan Engram Deal, Want To Retain Jawaan Taylor

As the Jaguars transition from spending wildly in 2022 to a 2023 free agency period featuring little action in terms of outside hires, they are going down to the wire with two priority players.

The Jags’ interest in re-signing Evan Engram has been on the radar for a while, but Jawaan Taylor is also a keeper candidate for the resurgent team. GM Trent Baalke confirmed Engram and Taylor talks are ongoing, as the Combine annually ignites discussions between teams and key free agents.

Engram has joined Taylor in indicating he would like to stay in Jacksonville, and NFL.com’s James Palmer points to optimism a deal will be reached (Twitter link). Particularly with Engram, this will be a time-sensitive matter. The Jags have not ruled out tagging either Engram or Taylor, but with the tight end tag checking in at barely $11MM, Engram profiles as the likelier candidate to be cuffed. It would cost the Jags $18.2MM to tag Taylor.

I think with Jawaan and Evan, I don’t want to speak for them, they know how we feel about them, and I think we know how they feel about us, and there’s a win-win in there somewhere. We’ve just got to get to that,” Baalke said, via the Florida Times-Union’s Demetrius Harvey. “We’ve got a nice window here before free agency starts, and our goal is to try to close those deals within that window.”

Given Engram’s interest in coming back, it should not be considered a lock the Jaguars will lose the seventh-year veteran if they pass on tagging him by the March 7 deadline. But that is the failsafe point for the Jags, who gave the ex-Giants first-rounder a one-year deal worth $9MM in 2022 and saw him produce a single-season franchise record for tight end receiving yards (766). Engram, 28, staying would further strengthen Jacksonville’s receiving corps, which has Christian Kirk, Zay Jones and Calvin Ridley under contract.

Taylor’s path is a bit more complicated. The Jags already tagged left tackle Cam Robinson twice, eventually extending him last year. The tackle landscape reveals the either/or decisions teams have made recently regarding payments; clubs with big-ticket left tackle deals on their respective payrolls have not doled out much money to right tackles. Robinson’s $17.9MM-per-year pact ranks seventh at left tackle. The Jags have Walker Little as a possible option to succeed Taylor, who would be poised to do well on the market, with dependable O-linemen being coveted commodities annually.

Robinson’s meniscus tear, however, clouds the Jags’ plans here. Robinson would tentatively be on track to return by Week 1, but Doug Pederson confirmed his potential unavailability factors into the Taylor talks. Taylor, 25, has never missed a game as a pro.

The Jags do have more money to work with as they navigate these negotiations now. They recently restructured the contracts of Kirk, Jones, Brandon Scherff and Foye Oluokun, according to ESPN.com’s Field Yates and NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (Twitter links). Altogether, this created $36MM-plus in cap space. Jacksonville has boosted its total to $16.1MM, as of Wednesday afternoon.

The team has re-signed Roy Robertson-Harris to a three-year, $30MM deal, keeping the D-line starter off the market. That contract is already factored into the team’s updated payroll. Engram and/or Taylor may follow suit; each would be free to negotiate with other teams beginning March 13.

Jawaan Taylor Wants To Re-Sign With Jags

The Jaguars took over the early stages of the 2022 free agent market, doling out big contracts to infuse a downtrodden team with talent. Those moves made a significant impact, helping key a surprise run to the divisional round. Money is tighter this year, and the Jags retaining their own might be the mission.

Interested in re-signing Evan Engram, the Jaguars also will have an opportunity to retain Jawaan Taylor. Jacksonville’s right tackle starter since he was drafted in the 2019 second round, Taylor said he wants to remain with the team. The 25-year-old blocker has never missed a game as a pro.

Most definitely,” Taylor said, via the Florida Times-Union’s Tim Walters, on the subject of another Jaguars deal. “That’s the team that took the chance on me in the draft, and I’ve been there playing for four seasons now and I’m close to home. I’m two hours away from home, so being able to come back and play for Duval will be a lot of fun, so hopefully that will work out for me.”

After holding extensive cap space in 2022, the Jags are currently over the $224.8MM salary ceiling. Jacksonville is over by a substantial margin — $22MM-plus — and will need to make some roster moves to comply with the 2023 cap ahead of the new league year, which begins March 15. Taylor will likely be a player the Jags consider re-signing, given his consistent role on the despite the run of coaching changes. But a few complications exist.

Unlike Engram, however, this regime did not sign off on acquiring Taylor. The Trent BaalkeDoug Pederson duo signed Engram to a one-year deal in 2022; Taylor arrived during the Tom CoughlinDave CaldwellDoug Marrone years. Pro Football Focus has never viewed Taylor as a plus option at tackle, slotting him in the bottom quartile at the position this year (69th overall) and never ranking him inside the top 40. An Engram franchise tag, which would be the fourth tight end tag over the past two offseasons, could also tie up Jags funds.

Working under Urban Meyer during the 2021 draft, Baalke was with the team when it drafted Walker Little in the second round. Little finished the season as the starting left tackle, after Cam Robinson went down. Taylor beat out Little for the right tackle job in training camp last year. The Jags have Trevor Lawrence tied to a rookie contract — for one more year, at least — but Robinson is already signed to an upper-echelon tackle deal (three years, $52.75MM). No team tied to a top-10 left tackle contract also has a high-end right tackle deal on its payroll.

Spotrac slots Taylor in position to command a $12MM-per-year pact, so his market will be worth monitoring. While the Browns’ Jack Conklin extension took a right tackle option off the free agency board, blockers like Mike McGlinchey and Kaleb McGary are on track to be available. It will be interesting to see how teams value Taylor, should the Jags pass on an extension ahead of the legal tampering period.

Jaguars Featuring Position Battles At RT, C

Although the Jaguars spent wildly in free agency, it is possible four of their primary five starters from last year’s offensive line reprise their roles in 2022. But competitions are revealing themselves ahead of training camp.

Tyler Shatley, the team’s longest-tenured player, will attempt to hold off third-round pick Luke Fortner at center, while John Reid of the Florida Times-Union notes three-year right tackle starter Jawaan Taylor is not a lock to keep his job. Walker Little, a 2021 second-round pick, looks to have a good chance to unseat the ex-Florida Gator.

Third-year blocker Ben Bartch and big-ticket free agency pickup Brandon Scherff are set to be Jacksonville’s first-string guards, with the recently extended Cam Robinson in place at left tackle. Taylor has played opposite Robinson throughout his career, being one of the NFL’s most durable players in that span. The 24-year-old right tackle has not missed a game, and the Jags have turned to the 2019 35th overall pick as a starter in every one of those contests.

Pro Football Focus viewed Taylor as a slightly better blocker in 2021 than he was in 2020, but it still graded the 6-foot-5 lineman as the Jags’ worst regular up front. Taylor’s 12 penalties led all O-linemen last season. Little played 225 offensive snaps as a rookie, working as the swingman behind Robinson and Taylor, but Reid views the Stanford product as the likely favorite to be Jacksonville’s 2022 right tackle. This would relegate Taylor to a swing role, representing bad timing for him on that front. As a 2023 free agent-to-be, Taylor has an opportunity to audition for other teams this season.

Little missed nearly two full seasons, suffering an ACL tear early in 2019 and opting out of the COVID-19-altered 2020 Pac-12 slate. PFF graded he and Robinson as middling blockers, though the latter obviously played far more snaps.

Shatley, 31, filled in for the injured (and now-retired Brandon Linder) frequently during the past two seasons, starting 18 games. The Jags made Fortner their only O-line pick this year. The Kentucky product made 36 straight starts, using his additional eligibility year to vault onto the Day 2 radar. A former UDFA, Shatley would become the Jags’ interior swingman again if beaten out for the Week 1 snapping gig.

Jaguars Looking At OL Ekwonu With Top Pick

We wrote a bit in January about NC State’s Ikem Ekwonu potentially being the best offensive lineman in the draft. Well, he certainly thinks so, as he told reporters at the NFL Scouting Combine Thursday that he’d “definitely deserve” to be drafted No. 1 overall, according to Darryl Slater of NJ.com

He’s not totally off base in his thinking. ESPN’s Mel Kiper mocked Ekwonu to Jacksonville in his latest mock draft just before the Combine. According to Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated, many at the Combine, including ESPN’s Todd McShay, expected Ekwonu to blow up in Indianapolis.

There’s already been a bit of talk connecting Ekwonu to the Jaguars. General manager Trent Baalke has a tendency to prefer explosive linemen and Ekwonu demonstrated his explosiveness in field drills including an impressive sub-5.00 second 40-yard dash. Baalke and new head coach Doug Pederson will be looking to put together a group at offensive line that can protect former No. 1 overall pick Trevor Lawrence and create holes for running backs James Robinson and Travis Etienne.

Jawaan Taylor is expected to compete with Walker Little for the right tackle job. Captain Brandon Linder should return to form at center after MCL and ankle injuries forced him to miss a large part of the 2021 NFL season. Andrew Norwell is expected to hit the free agent market and Cam Robinson could join him if the team decides not to utilize their franchise tag on Robinson for the second straight year. Veteran sixth-man Tyler Shatley was recently re-signed and Ben Bartch could help out at guard. So the versatility of Ekwonu could line him up as the perfect choice for Jacksonville’s current situation, where lots of question marks surround the depth chart. Even so, the Jaguars could also fall in love with Evan Neal, who is largely seen as the top pure tackle in the draft.

Still, the redshirt sophomore out of Raleigh is a young, talented prospect with the ability to dominate at tackle or guard. Even if he slips past Jacksonville at No. 1 overall, don’t expect him to be available after both New York teams get a chance to draft. Ekwonu will aim to be only the third Wolfpack offensive lineman in history to be picked in the first round, the highest-drafted Wolfpack prospect since Bradley Chubb in 2018, and, above that, the first top overall pick out of NC State since Mario Williams in 2006.

Will Jags’ Tag Cam Robinson Again?

Almost five years ago, the Jaguars drafted Alabama offensive tackle Cam Robinson. Seen by many as a potential first rounder, Robinson fell to the Jaguars’ second-round pick with some red flags from a previous arrest and some injury issues that held him out of the Combine and parts of his Pro Day. 

Robinson immediately earned the starting left tackle position as a rookie and started 15 games in 2017. After suffering a torn ACL in Week 2 of the 2018 NFL season, Robinson missed the rest of his sophomore year in the league.

Once his rookie contract expired at the end of the 2020 season, it was rumored the Jaguars were going to allow Robinson to test the free agent market. Robinson was certainly not considered a top 5 offensive tackle, so tagging him and paying him the average salary of the top 5 players at his position seemed like a fairly large stretch. But with a lack of options to replace the young tackle and the price tag of what few options were available, the Jaguars bit the bullet and paid Robinson.

Now, a year later, Jacksonville is faced with a similar issue: Do they tag Robinson for a second straight year or trust the options available to them this year?

Tagging Robinson is a simple option. On the upside, it secures three sure starters for the 2022 season on the offensive line, they know exactly what it will cost them, and, while he wasn’t quite a top 5 offensive tackle, Robinson played the best football of his career this past season. The downside is that, when you tag a player two years in a row, you don’t pay the average of the top 5 players of the position in Year 2, you pay 120% of the previous year’s salary. With Robinson’s salary last year paying him $13.75MM, a 20% raise would net him $16.5MM in 2022.

If the Jaguars decide to let Robinson walk, they’re not bereft of options. Internally, they did draft Walker Little in the second round last year and saw him start three games in limited time this season. If they think Little can play up to or near the level of play of Robinson, he would be a much cheaper option. The Jaguars also hold the number one pick of the 2022 NFL Draft. Many mock drafts have seen fellow Alabama-alum Evan Neal mocked as the top draft pick, but few see Neal as a true homerun pick at the top of the draft.

There’s lots of work to be done on the Jaguars’ offensive line, and new offensive line coach Phil Rauscher will likely have a say in the game plan. Jawaan Taylor has started every game since being drafted in 2019 and is expected to start at right tackle. Veteran and captain Brandon Linder should return to form after MCL and ankle injuries forced him to miss a large part of the 2021 season. Tagging Robinson would secure another tackle position and leave the guards as the only questions. With Andrew Norwell expected to hit the free agent market, Ben Bartch could fill one of the open guard positions, but the other would be open to either an unproven back up or a rookie.

Regardless of where it comes from, Robinson’s next paycheck is expected to be a large one. If the Jaguars decide not to tag or extend him, a team hungry for offensive line help is sure to take a flier and pay out for the 26-year-old tackle.