Browns sign LT Greg Robinson to a 1-year extension

Browns left tackle Greg Robinson has another shot to prove he can be the heir apparent to Joe Thomas.

Robinson, the 2014 No. 2 overall pick out of Auburn, signed a one-year extension with the Browns on Monday, his agent Neil Schwartz announced on Twitter and the Browns confirmed. Financial terms were not immediately available, but he was due to become an unrestricted agent in March.

The one-year "prove-it'' deal indicates the Browns will continue to look for competition at the position. They also have second-year pro Desmond Harrison, the 2018 undrafted free agent who started the first eight games of the season but then fell ill and watched Robinson take his job.

The Browns will also look in the draft at tackles, with some of the top ones being Florida’s Jawaan Taylor, Ole Miss’ Greg Little, and Washington State’s Andre Dillard. They will undoubtedly consider free agent tackles as well.

In this week's edition of our Browns' mailbag, we answer questions about Antonio Callaway, the NFL draft and more.

On a conference call Monday to preview the NFL Combine, NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah, a former Browns scout, said he’s thrilled to see Robinson up off the mat.

"Trust me, nobody’s happier to see him playing well than me and I’m sure a lot of other folks who have had high draft grades on him, so hopefully that’s a nice kick save and he kind of gets things going because we know the ability has always been there,'' Jeremiah said. "It’s just getting the performance to match the ability. So that’s definitely an option for them.''

But Jeremiah believes there are left tackles worthy of the No. 17 overall pick, such as Washington State’s Andre Dillard and Florida’s Jawaan Taylor.

"Man, to me, if Dillard’s there who I think is the premier pass-protecting left tackle, that would be hard to pass up at that point in time,'' he said. "So that would be one I would definitely have an eye on and the big kid from Florida (Taylor), too, is very, very talented who could make some sense, although you’re probably [going to] feel a little more comfortable with him on the right side there. So that’ll be a big decision for them to make. Do they go where they have some holes on that defensive side or they go ahead and look at that tackle.''

Former Browns left tackle Joe Thomas and former Browns center Shaun O’Hara, who have 12 Pro Bowls between them, both told cleveland.com at the Super Bowl they believe Robinson can be the Browns left tackle of the future.

“Greg did such a great job and he understood how Baker Mayfield played, how he needed his left tackle to play,’’ Thomas said. “And Greg was a like a sponge, the whole year learning from (former Browns offensive line coach) Bob Wylie, learning from those other guys in the room.

“To be able to step in and play as well as he did is not an easy thing, especially at that position and especially for a guy that’s kind of bounced around the league a little bit and hadn’t found his role and his niche. He did an amazing job and I can’t wait to see what he looks like next year with a full offseason of preparation.’’

Browns GM John Dorsey started extension talks with Robinson’s agent awhile back and wanted to have him signed before he hit the market. Robinson told cleveland.com in December he wants to re-sign here because of the faith Dorsey, Mayfield and others have shown in him.

Previously signed to one-year deal by the Browns in June worth $790,000, Robinson has a chance to prove he’s worth the No. 2 overall pick the Rams spent on him in 2014 and shed the bust label once and for all.

Things went south for Robinson shortly after he signed his fully-guaranteed $21 million rookie contract, and he was ultimately traded to the Lions in June of 2017 for a sixth-round pick. That didn’t go so well either. Plagued by an ankle injury, Robinson was waived with an injury designation in November of that year and then placed on injured reserve after he cleared waivers.

The Browns rescued Robinson off the scrap heap a little more than a month before training camp, but he suffered a concussion on day three and fell behind in his bid to land the starting job. Undrafted rookie Desmond Harrison beat him out, but fell ill before the Chiefs game in week nine and ultimately lost his job to Robinson.

Immediately after the 37-21 loss to the Chiefs, Mayfield began to lobby for Robinson as his full-time blindside protector.

“We had Greg Robinson start at left tackle,’’ Mayfield said in his postgame press conference. “He played well. There's promise right there.’’

Robinson (6-5, 330) never looked back, starting the final eight games of the season, solidifying the position and being part of a protection unit that surrendered only five sacks in those eight games for lowest in the NFL.

“To only allow five sacks in the last eight games is incredible,’’ said Thomas. “A lot of that goes to the quarterback of course, but the offensive line just playing well together, because that’s what it’s really all about.’’

O’Hara, the former Browns center, three-time Pro Bowler and current NFL Network analyst, also believes Robinson proved he can get the job done.

“The way he played in the second half of the season, I think he definitely deserves a shot to be the guy,’’ O’Hara said during an NFL Network availiabity at the Super Bowl. “Obviously with Joe Thomas there for a long time, the left tackle position was never a question, but you would always struggle to find five guys that really could drive the bus and I think they’ve got that now.’’

Contact Info

If you have comments or questions, please feel free to contact us.

Neil S. Schwartz

Email: neilsschwartz@gmail.com

Jonathan Feinsod

Email: jonathan@sffootball.net

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