NFL free agency is right around the corner and we’re tracking all the top targets for the Buccaneers. Today, a look at a reclamation project for the offensive line.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have an extremely talented offense, but last season they were held back by one of the worst interior offensive lines in football. Ali Marpet moved to center and secured that position (though he had growing pains with high snaps), but the guard play on both sides of him struggled all season. Their offensive tackle play was much better, thanks to Demar Dotson and Donovan Smith, but thanks to Dotson’s age (33 in October) and injury history and Smith’s contract uncertainty, the Bucs are in the market for a back-up offensive tackle. That’s where Greg Robinson could come in.
Greg Robinson’s Career
The Rams (St. Louis at the time) drafted Greg Robinson second overall in the 2014 draft, and spent three seasons with the team before being traded last year to the Detroit Lions. Thus far the Auburn product’s career has been mostly a struggle, and disappointing considering where he was selected in the draft. Robinson began his career as a guard but eventually changed to left tackle where he graded out consistently low. The Rams eventually ran out of patience with their second overall pick and, after declining his fifth year contract option, traded him to the Detroit Lions.
According to Pro Football Focus’s ratings, Robinson was among the ten worst offensive tackles in all three seasons that he played for the Rams. He started six games at left tackle for the Lions before their regular starter Taylor Decker returned from injury; the bad news is, his play didn’t improve and he injured his ankle. The Lions released him in November, and that’s where we find him now.
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Why the Buccaneers Need Him
It’s tough to say that any team needs a player of Greg Robinson’s caliber, but the Buccaneers could certainly use him. Their current offensive line is a work in progress and it couldn’t hurt to take a flier on a 25 year old with starters experience at both guard and tackle. Robinson could try-out at both positions for the Bucs, but his best shot would be at guard, where the team is severely lacking.
Ideally the Bucs won’t need Robinson to start, but a player with experience at two positions could be useful. The team has stated in the past that they cross train their offensive linemen to give themselves as many options as possible in the event of an injury, so perhaps they could try to get the most out of Robinson’s established versatility.
What Will Robinson Cost?
Of all the free agent offensive linemen available this off-season Greg Robinson made the fourth most money last season at $5,321,025. He can expect to make a good bit less this off-season as he’s likely looking at a short term, prove-it type of deal. Robinson’s age and the fact that he’ll be so affordable very well could attract the Buccaneers.
I doubt that the Bucs would offer more than a one year deal worth two or three million dollars and heavily laden with play incentives. Though the difference is minimal, look for him to be paid on a guard’s scale by the Bucs because that would be the first place they try him.
Will It Happen?
This very much depends on Greg Robinson’s opinion of himself, and how aggressive his market is. Robinson’s play through four seasons hasn’t warranted a long contract, so for the Bucs to sign him he’d need to be alright with a short term, low-pay deal, and no guarantees of a starting role.
Thanks to the Bucs’ deficiencies and lack of depth on the offensive line Robinson will get a shot in training camp to compete for a larger role, so perhaps that’s enough to entice him.
It’s difficult to put odds on the possibility of signing Robinson, but I’d say the Buccaneers are in as likely a spot for it as any other team out there. What do you think, Buccaneer fans? Is the 25 year old lineman worth a shot for the lineman-needy Bucs? Sound off in the comments and check back for another free agent spotlight tomorrow!