Jaguars Trade RB James Robinson to Jets

by Daniel Johnson
Jaguars Trade RB James Robinson to New York Jets

The Jacksonville Jaguars have traded RB James Robinson to the New York Jets. This is our second high-caliber feature back trade in a matter of five days. And, for the Jets, it comes on the heels of losing their spectacular rookie Breece Hall for the season to a torn ACL.

In exchange for Robinson, the Jaguars receive a 2023 conditional sixth-round pick to the Jaguars. Small catch: it becomes a fifth-rounder if Robinson rushes for 600 yards this season.

Robinson's storybook time in Duvall County—undrafted rookie in 2020 who burst onto the scene and broke the record for most scrimmage yards by undrafted rookie—is officially over. With Doug Pederson and a healthy Travis Etienne, the writing had been on the wall the past few weeks.

Let's break it down on both sides.

Jaguars Trade RB James Robinson to Jets

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Impact for Robinson in New York

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What we know to be true from Robinson's time in Jacksonville is this: he can be an absolutely bruising three-down feature back. This is something the Jets had found in Breece Hall. With this trade, they've made it clear that having this sort of skill player at the helm of their running game is integral to their current-and-future 2022 success.

For Fantasy managers who rostered Robinson—or perhaps even traded for him after his fabulous Week 1—there has to be a bit of relief here. As the weeks went on in Jacksonville, Travis Etienne was out-snapping him more and more. He was ceding early-down and high-value opportunities to Etienne. And even though the latter has had some issues with fumbles and dropped passes, it's more evident than ever that the Jags intend to stick with him going forward.

Keep in mind: Robinson is still only 24. He has tremendous vision to break off long runs, and will almost certainly be the priority back in New York when it comes to short-yardage (read: goal line) work. I'd imagine Robinson will have some opportunities in the passing game, but Michael Carter will certainly get his share of third-down looks.

Robinson is apparently dealing with a knee issue that sidelined him for most of last week's game against the Giants. Not great news for anyone returning from an ACL tear. Just ask J.K. Dobbins. The Jets also just lost their star tackle, Alijah Vera-Tucker. He's out for the season due to a triceps injury.

I'm cautiously optimistic here—though maybe not immediately. I wouldn't consider Robinson a fringe RB2 with upside for more going forward in New York.

Impact for Etienne in Jacksonville

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Undeniably, this is the juicier end of the trade. Etienne owners—many of whom jumped on him in the third and fourth rounds of this year's draft—are everywhere rejoicing. The clouds have broken. It's clear skies and wheels up for Etienne going forward.

Against the Giants on Sunday, he out-carried Robinson 19:1 this week, and converted his opportunities into 114 yards and a touchdown on the ground. Strangely enough, his breakout game saw him catch only one ball for five yards (five targets, however). If Sunday's game against the Giants didn't herald enough of an absolute arrival for Travis Etienne, this trade sure should.

With this sort of spotlight, there's more pressure, too. Etienne has had some rough drops and costly fumbles through his first seven NFL games. Some of the former is certainly due to rust between he and Lawrence. But the fumbles have been unacceptable. The Jaguars seem committed to giving him chances regardless of his mistakes, but he has to improve his ball-security skills.

This, however, is a no-brainer. Etienne is a lineup lock going forward. With some juicy matchups ahead (Las Vegas, Detroit, etc.), Etienne presents the sort of week-winning upside that Josh Jacobs, Kenneth Walker III, and Austin Ekeler do now.

Final Thoughts

The only loser in this trade is Michael Carter, and we'd all relegated him to handcuff value anyways with the emergence of Breece Hall. What we've got here are two young, talented running backs who now will get the lions' shares of opportunities on their respective budding offenses.

Which is to say, this is precisely the kind of trade Fantasy managers love to see in the middle of a season. Get fired up.

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