Fans of teams who’ve signed big free agents in the first day of the new league year are largely overjoyed at the news.
Laurent Robinson is just a year removed from his big day and offers a cautionary tale.
Let’s remember it’s completely possible that today’s big signing is, in just one year, a salary-cap burden who not only solves no problems, but creates some.
The Jaguars cut Robinson, avoiding a $2 million bonus that was about to come due.
That’s new general manager David Caldwell cleaning up more of the mess left behind by his predecessor, Gene Smith. Smith gave Robinson, coming off his one big season, a five-year, $32.5 million contract that guaranteed him $14 million
(It’s a good time to revisit this piece by Bill Barnwell of Grantland, who crushingly picked apart Smith’s failures, including that Robinson contract.)
Even if Robinson didn’t suffer four concussions and play in only seven games, it was a contract that was way too big.
Now, Robinson is a free agent again. The Jaguars said at the combine he’d been medically cleared. Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union says Robinson passed a physical. But Mark Long of the Associated Press reports Robinson “disagrees with [the] team's assessment that he's healthy, says he felt lightheaded during workout yesterday.”
Today, as we recall Robinson’s failed year with the Jaguars, we should remember how quickly the excitement of a big signing can dissipate.