- Todd Archer, ESPN Staff Writer
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IRVING, Texas – The negotiations between the Cowboys and wide receiver Laurent Robinson figure to be interesting because determining market value will be difficult.
Robinson had a career year in 2011 with 54 catches for 858 yards and 11 touchdowns. He and Tony Romo clicked instantly and he helped a passing game that was missing a No. 3 wide receiver when the season started after Kevin Ogletree failed to corral the opportunity.
But that’s the first time Robinson has been healthy for his career and produced. His two best years prior to 2011 came in 2007 with Atlanta and 2010 with St. Louis when he combined for 781 yards on 71 catches and three touchdowns.
In his five years he has played in only 52 of 80 possible games.
Can you pay Robinson significant money when he has missed so much time? Can the Cowboys afford to not pay him considering the injury histories of Austin and Bryant?
When Patrick Crayton was the Cowboys’ No. 3 receiver, he was signed to a four-year, $14 million deal. By 2010 the team had Austin, Bryant and Roy Williams, and Crayton’s $2.5 million salary became too expensive and he was traded to San Diego.
Some possible contracts to look at as barometers for Robinson: Chicago’s Earl Bennett signed a five-year deal worth $18.55 million last year. Jacksonville’s Mike Thomas is on a five-year, $19 million deal with $9 million guaranteed.
Bennett has 124 catches for 1,659 yards and six touchdowns in four seasons. Thomas has 158 catches for 1,688 yards and nine touchdowns in three seasons. Robinson has 143 catches for 1,858 yards and 15 touchdowns in five seasons.
There is a framework there from which to work, but all it takes is for one team to blow that up.