With free agency approaching on March 9th, we continue to take a closer look at all of the Browns' unrestricted free agents, with ILB Craig Robertson up next.
ILB Craig Robertson
Robertson was once a liability in coverage, but improved his craft as time went along. Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
How and When He Joined the: In 2011, the Browns signed Robertson to their practice squad as an undrafted free agent in December. He was basically a "rookie" in 2012, and made the team despite being relatively unknown. Although he only started three games in 2012, he was featured a lot as a nickel linebacker, registering 93 tackles.
Productivity Level Last Season: Robertson was only able to play 12 games in 2015 as an ankle injury held him back. Playing in a time share with ILB Christian Kirksey, Robertson finished the season with 59 tackles, a career low. He did defend a career high five passes and had 1 interception and 1 forced fumble.
When Robertson was in his second year in 2012, he was awful in coverage. Over the past two years, he made great strides in that area, though, including this past season.
Why Keeping Him Could Make Sense: He has familiarity with Ray Horton's defense from 2013 and can be a good role player on defense and special teams. In 2013, he started all 14 games he played; it was the only time in his career in which he really wasn't in a time share with another player. He also registered a career-high three sacks under Horton. The depth at inside linebacker is not very good, so losing him creates an even bigger void.
What the Browns Should Do: Pro Football Focus says, "Robertson's struggles against the run mean that he isn’t an ideal every-down linebacker." They suggest the team let Robertson walk if he's looking for any type of lucrative deal, and I'd agree with that. Robertson signed a one-year tender last year worth $2.356 million, so presumably he's going to be looking for more than that.
I'm at the point where I feel the Browns have just been prolonging the fact that inside linebacker is a very weak position for this team -- do we want to continue prolonging it by bringing back mediocre inside linebackers? If the Browns make Robertson an offer, I'd expect it to be along the lines of 2 years for $5 million, and I don't really care whether he takes it or leaves it.
Now it's your turn -- vote in the poll below on whether or not the team should try to re-sign Craig Robertson!