Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Let's all chill about Laurent Robinson
By Dan Graziano
You guys know I'm active on Twitter (@ESPN_NFCEast and, to a lesser extent, @DanGrazianoESPN). I'm there to answer whatever questions I can, and at times like these the activity is more intense than it is at other times of the year. So I'm on there in between blog posts to help out. You can ask questions, vent, call me names, whatever. I'm there for you.
Some of the questions I get on there become so frequent that they take on lives of their own and become worthy of their own posts. Such is the case, I feel, with the question of Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Laurent Robinson, who is making free-agent visits to places like Jacksonville and appears unlikely to return to Dallas.
To hear Cowboys fans on this topic, you'd think we were talking about the second coming of Jerry Rice. I mean, Robinson played very well for the Cowboys last year, and only three players in the league caught more touchdown passes, but I refuse to buy into the idea that replacing his production would become a major offseason priority for the Cowboys if and when he signs elsewhere.
Possible options for replacing Robinson include:
1. Throwing the ball to Jason Witten, Miles Austin and Dez Bryant more.
2. Finding a third wide receiver in the bargain bin, which is where they found Robinson last summer when no one else wanted him.
This isn't rocket science. Robinson became Tony Romo's favorite red zone target and ended up with 11 touchdown catches, but that doesn't mean Romo would be crippled in the red zone without him. Witten used to be his favorite red zone target, and there's no reason to think he can't be again. If they can keep Austin healthy and Bryant (still just 23 years old) continues his development, they won't need a No. 3 wide receiver to produce the way Robinson did. Robinson's production was a pleasant surprise, but it's not as though Romo and the Cowboys would have been lost without him.
The Cowboys need help on defense and on the offensive line. They're pretty well stocked at receiver. Falling in love with Robinson and overpaying him off of his first good season would be a free-agent gamble, and given their strengths and their needs, it's one the Cowboys would do well to let some other team make.