JACKSONVILLE – Cam Robinson is staying with the Jaguars.
That will mean the Jaguars first using the NFL's franchise tag on the veteran left tackle, with Head Coach Urban Meyer saying Tuesday he sees Robinson as an important part of the offensive line moving forward.
"Our intent is to have Cam Robinson play for the Jaguars for a while," Meyer said.
Robinson, a second-round selection by the Jaguars in the 2017 NFL Draft, is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent on March 17 – the opening day of the NFL's 2021 League Year. Placing the tag on Robinson effectively prevents him from becoming a free agent.
The NFL's deadline for applying the franchise tag is Tuesday at 4 p.m.
Meyer said the hope is to sign Robinson to a long-term deal and that there is a chance one could be reached this offseason.
"[Offensive line coach] George Warhop feels very strong about his future and his development," Meyer said on a videoconference with media early Tuesday afternoon. "He has a great future. His ceiling is very high. I've studied him very much. I've spent some time with him.
"We feel that the way this free agency is moving is that left tackle position – as always, but even more now this year – this is a tough year for that position. We feel with what's out there – and with coaching, culture and development – Cam has a lot of talent."
Under NFL rules, teams can apply franchise or transition tags to one prospective free agent each offseason. Applying the franchise tag to Robinson means another team would have to give the Jaguars two first-round draft selections to sign him. It also means he will play under a one-year contract in 2021 unless he and the Jaguars agree to a long-term deal.
Robinson, who has started 47 games in four NFL seasons and who missed 14 games in 2018 because of a torn anterior cruciate ligament, also has the option of not signing the tag. In that scenario, he would not play or be paid.
Meyer on Tuesday addressed not only Robinson, but the entire Jaguars offensive line. He spoke highly of the group, adding that "the expectation is the offensive line will be much better next year."
"That's an area that has got to play better than it did a year ago, but we all know they can (with) another year together," Meyer said. "We expect them to play better, but we think there are some pretty good pieces in place."
Meyer particularly praised the line's interior: left guard Andrew Norwell, center Brandon Linder and right guard A.J. Cann.
"I feel really good about them," Meyer said. "Those guys are good. The right tackle (Jawaan Taylor), I feel like his future is ahead of him, too."
Robinson and Taylor both started 16 games in 2020, with Norwell starting 13, Cann starting 15 and Linder starting 10. Meyer was specifically asked about Norwell, who he coached at Ohio State.
"He's one of my favorite players I've ever coached," Meyer said. "He's a guy who was an underdog when we got there to Ohio State. The offensive line was one of the worst in the Big 10 and it became the best in the Big 10. He was a big part of it. I was not surprised to see him get a high free agency contract because he's a grinder, he's a worker. He's a team guy. He's a locker room guy.
"I see him being a part of the Jaguars and I want him to be part of the Jaguars. For me personally, I love the guy because I know him better than most."