The New York Jets appear ready to pull the plug on a failed experiment.
ESPN NFL Insider Jeremy Fowler revealed on Friday, March 10 that Gang Green will not tender running back James Robinson.
That decision means the veteran will become an unrestricted free agent when the new league year kicks off on Wednesday, March 15. Fowler says he is expected to have “interest” on the open market.
Robinson was listed as a restricted free agent and the Jets had a choice of what tender level to place on him. They decided instead to not tender him at all.
James Robinson Was a Trade Worth Swinging
When Breece Hall went down with a torn ACL in the Week 7 matchup versus the Denver Broncos, the Jets quickly pivoted.
General manager Joe Douglas wanted to be aggressive to fill the new void on the roster with what he believed to be the best possible option available.
He deemed that to be Robinson and executed a trade less than 48 hours later with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The Jags sent the veteran running back to New York in exchange for a conditional sixth-round draft choice. If Robinson rushed for 260 or more rushing yards, that pick would become a fifth-rounder.
Spoiler alert, he never reached the escalators required so it remained a sixth-round pick. Robinson only ended up with 85 yards in four games.
He fell out of favor very quickly and became a healthy scratch down the stretch. Robinson was so frustrated with his lack of a role that he shared his feelings with ESPN’s Rich Cimini.
Robinson’s highlight with the Jets came during their best win of the 2022 season.
He toted the rock 13 times for 48 rushing yards. Additionally, he caught two balls for five yards including a touchdown reception.
The Jets ended up winning that matchup 20-17 over the Buffalo Bills.
Jets Could Ride It out or Still Add Another Piece to the Puzzle
With Robinson leaving the fold, the Jets are left with just three running backs under contract for 2023.
The aforementioned Hall, Michael Carter, and Zonovan ‘Bam’ Knight.
Ty Johnson is scheduled to reach unrestricted free agency when the new league year starts on Wednesday, March 15.
Depending on who you ask, you might get different answers on Hall’s rehab ahead of the 2023 season.
I’ve heard some people are more pessimistic about a realistic return date to full strength. Some have said it’ll take a few weeks into the regular season before he gets his sea legs back under him. While others within the Jets’ organization believe he will be ready to go for Week 1.
That seems a tad aggressive and considering the injury, the team would be best served playing it safe and being extremely cautious.
If that’s the case, Gang Green would only have MC1 and an undrafted free agent in the backfield.
The Jets will have to add some bodies to the room this offseason, but don’t expect it to be a top-of-the-market investment. A cheap veteran familiar with Nathaniel Hackett’s scheme or a late-day three-pick could suffice.