Cleveland Browns left tackle Greg Robinson was left without a team a month before training camp in 2018. With a team searching for a player that can produce, the Browns picked him up. Then, he missed the majority of camp due to an injury he suffered in the first week of practice. Nothing seemed to be going right for the former No. 2-overall pick. Then he got his chance. He made the most of that chance, to say the least.
In the second half of the season last year, the 6-foot-5 330-pounder proved that he can be counted on to protect Baker Mayfield’s blind side. Although the eight starts is a small sample size, especially given the fact that Cleveland is the fourth team he has played for in just five seasons, Robinson at least forced the Browns to give him a better, longer look.
With the Browns reaching a one-year, $7 million extension with the left tackle,1 it seems like a win-win for both sides. It gives Robinson more opportunity to prove that he not only belongs in the league but can be counted on to anchor the left side of the offensive line. It also gives the Browns plenty of flexibility due to it only being a one-year deal. It’s a prove-it deal. Now it’s up to Robinson to actually prove it.
Re-signing Robinson prior to the new league year on March 13, the same day that free agency will begin, was key for Cleveland. With the one-year deal, they keep the big man off the free-agent market and are assured that he will be in orange and brown next fall.
So what does it mean for the Browns going forward, specifically in the NFL Draft? Some of the WFNY guys are here to discuss just that.
Poloha: While the offensive tackle class in the upcoming NFL Draft seems quite good, at least on paper, Robinson’s one-year extension gives the Browns some wiggle room, especially in the first round. They don’t need to take an offensive tackle at No. 17. If a top-tier left tackle falls to them, then sure, they can take him, but it is no longer as much of a need. Either way, the Browns are in a very good spot here.
The best part is that it’s a prove-it, one-year deal. Robinson will be playing for a big-time payday next offseason. It’s essentially a tryout for him and will give the Browns a better (and much longer) look at the former No. 2-overall pick.
Given that it’s a cheap, one-year deal, if the Browns decide to draft a left tackle that they believe will be their left tackle of the future (ahead of Robinson), you only have the former Auburn product for on a one-year deal. Cleveland not only secured one of their top targets, but they did so on a very team-friendly deal as well. You can ask for much more than that.
He wasn’t perfect during the last eight games last season, but he earned another opportunity. The Browns giving him one is a win-win for both parties, especially given that it’s only a one-year deal.
Bode: Robinson is the starting left tackle if the Browns cannot find someone better. The Browns won’t stop looking for someone better just because they have him on — a one-year — contract.
He certainly makes the Browns less desperate for an offensive tackle at No. 17, which is a good thing. If John Dorsey thinks the Browns can get better value at another position because someone dropped, then he can do so. There are offensive tackles in the 2019 NFL Draft class that make sense. Given that this year is good for offensive tackle prospects, it would not be bad to take one if they fall to No. 17 and let Robinson and Hubbard fight to start at the other tackle spot.
Jonah Williams, Jawan Taylor, and Greg Little are all potential selections for the Browns in the first round. I keep flipping between Williams, Little, and Taylor as prospects. I believe Jonah will be the best, but the other two have some really nice traits that are tempting. I do not quite see the same with Yodny Cajuste and Cody Ford who are the other prospects some think will/can go in Round 1.
Gerbs: The signing of Greg Robinson to a one-year deal is for sure a good signing for a variety of reasons. The chances of finding someone better on the open market are slim to none (without an extravagant cost to the cap and long term financial flexibility) and you lock in a player who knows the system and plays. You also have not made any long-term promises to a player that hasn’t quite proven himself after being a huge bust for multiple franchises.
The extension also allows the front office to look for the best player available at No. 17 and/or the opportunity to fill a hole elsewhere, the defensive line is the biggest deficiency and a position many talent evaluators have pegged the Browns to target in the first round.
Joe Gilbert: It’s an excellent move by the Browns. It is a tryout for Robinson and the Browns, but also insurance for Cleveland as well. It moves the necessity of getting a left tackle down a few notches, allowing Cleveland to take an offensive tackle with a Day 2 or early Day 3 pick, rather than a Day 1 pick. The Browns will be able to see if Robinson can continue his trend upwards and if he could possibly develop into the future left tackle. But by signing Robinson, the Browns could also look to get a more developmental type tackle in the draft because they will have Robinson to take the reigns this season as the starting left tackle. It just gives the Browns more flexibility, options, and comfort at the position.
Pat: I understand that it’s only a one-year deal, but I think this is John Dorsey’s way of kicking the can down the road for another year. The organization praised Greg Robinson’s play and gave him starter’s money to be the man at left tackle this year. I believe this is a signal not to expect a tackle to be drafted by the Browns in the first round of the draft this year. I also find it hard to believe that the GM would look at the performance of the offense after Freddie Kitchens took over as offensive coordinator/play caller and decide that the performance of the defense is not what merits an injection of first-round talent. That being said, I do think it’s possible and even probable that we’ll see an offensive tackle drafted in the second round or later.