Is this your king? Is this the addition that scared you so much? Last week, everyone filled their pants over a (Jags GM) Trent Baalke quote about filling out the running back room. In that quote, he said that the Jaguars need to add some depth to the room to take some load off of James Robinson. A large portion of people said, “Baalke fulfilled the prophecy, the sky is falling, sell, sell, sell your James Robinson!” Well, the Jaguars went out and shored up their running back room by adding a (soon-to-be) 31-year-old Carlos Hyde. This is unequivocally a good thing for James Robinson, at least for now.
Since leaving San Francisco, Hyde has been on four teams in three years. In those seasons, he averaged 54 yards per game on 13 touches per contest. He’s a depth piece in the NFL at this point. Therefore, it stands to reason that he’s merely a depth piece on Jacksonville. After all, last year their depth pieces were Devine Ozigbo and Chris Thompson.
There are some fun and interesting narratives floating around with Carlos Hyde signing with Jacksonville for $6 million over two years (the same as Devontae Booker in New York). First, Urban Meyer got his All-Big Ten running back under contract, meaning he is going to use him. Well, Hyde won that award in 2013. Barack Obama was just starting his second term, guys. I don’t really care what Carlos Hyde did at Ohio State, that was five teams ago (including a stint with Jacksonville!).
There are also people who want to tell you that Carlos Hyde is going to take goal-line carries from James Robinson. False. Carlos Hyde stinks at goal-line carries. James Robinson had five last year, for 11 yards, and scored all five times. For his career, Hyde has 22 touchdowns on 53 five-zone carries. There’s no reason for Jacksonville to rotate out James Robinson—who can punch it in and catch footballs—for Carlos Hyde, who has stone hands and gets stonewalled at the goal line.
There’s also a narrative that Carlos Hyde is going to steal a ton of touches from James Robinson; I mean, sure, I guess. But you’ve decided that you were going to be scared about that no matter who signs if this scares you. Carlos Hyde getting 150 touches means he gets nine touches per game. Are you scared of a 30 year old running back on his sixth team in five years? He’s pulling a Grover Cleveland on the NFL, with two non-consecutive terms with the Jags! Then you were always going to get scared by the Jags’ inevitable backfield addition. The player—Carlos Hyde—is not what is scaring you.
Ultimately, here’s what I think about James Robinson: he broke the undrafted free agent rookie yardage record and is cheap as dirt. He also did it in fourteen games. Robinson averaged over 100 yards per game last year and assuming a retraction from 100 yards per game is reasonable. But it’s embarrassing to run a Chicken Little game about his fantasy football value because Carlos Hyde signed with the Jaguars… for Devontae Booker backing up Saquon Barkley money. This is his former coach and GM doing him a solid and tossing him a contract, nothing more. James Robinson was, and remains, a top-ten running back for 2021 fantasy football purposes.
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