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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Questions continue as to what the Dallas Cowboys should do with their 2011 breakout at receiver, Laurent Robinson.
The answer is the Cowboys re-sign him – the caveat is if Dallas can afford to.
It is no secret that Robinson served as Dallas’ greatest target in the red-zone in 2011.
Robinson caught 54 receptions for 858 yards and 11 touchdowns last season. Even as the third/fourth guy in, Robinson ended the year classifying himself in two NFL categories: ranking 35th in receiving yards and tying for fourth in touchdown receptions.
But with Miles Austin and Dez Bryant already on the roster with “healthy” salaries respectively, finding enough cap space to make Robinson a tempting offer may prove to be a difficult task for the Cowboys. In 2010, Dallas and Austin agreed to a 6-year contract extension with $18 million of it guaranteed. Austin’s adjusted deal ended up totaling $57 million after Austin signed an extension. Additionally, the Cowboys signed Bryant to a 5-year $11.8 million dollar deal, with $8.3 million of it guaranteed.
These are daunting figures, considering Dallas still has to evaluate their offensive line and secondary—which have proven to be two significantly troublesome areas for them last season.
If the Cowboys do decide to part ways with Robinson, here is what the team is looking at internally as the third option.
Tight end Jason Witten has always been a favorite receiving target of quarterback Tony Romo. In 2011, Witten had 79 total receptions for 942 total receiving yards. The year before he caught 94 receptions for 1,002 receiving yards.
This brings Dallas to their other receiver choices of former reality show winner Jesse Holley, Raymond Radway or even Dwayne Harris. Holley had seven receptions for 169 total yards, his longest for 77 in 2011. Radway has yet to prove himself at the position as is the case for Harris, who was limited to returning kicks his rookie season.
Then again the Cowboys can always hope to find their “next Laurent Robinson” somewhere in the upcoming draft or in the free agency clearance aisle.
Robinson has stressed repeatedly that he wants to remain in a Cowboys uniform, regardless of where he falls on the depth chart.
“This is where I want to be,” Robinson said. “It doesn’t matter if I’m the No. 1, 2 or 3. Money doesn’t drive me to play this game. I play because I like to have fun. I think I have a good fit here with the Cowboys.”
Dallas still has to wait to begin any official contract negotiations, since free agency begins the second week of March. With no legitimate or substantial answers coming from Valley Ranch, Robinson himself is the only lead as to what the Cowboys will potentially decide to do next.
“They just said they were proud of what I did for the team and hopefully they can bring me back,” Robinson said. “I’m just waiting for free agency to start. They can’t negotiate with my agent yet.”
As are many Cowboys’ fans and other NFL teams league-wide.
(Copyright 2012 KRLD FM / 105.3 The Fan, CBS Local. All Rights Reserved.)
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