Texans GM Smith responds to Robinson

(Ben Liebenberg / NFL.com)

(Ben Liebenberg / NFL.com)

The Texans made one of their biggest decisions of the offseason on Thursday by placing the franchise tag on CB Dunta Robinson.

Robinson responded by calling the team dishonest, saying he felt “betrayed” because he said the team told him they wouldn’t use the tag.

Texans GM Rick Smith spent the majority of his time with the media at the combine on Friday diffusing and clarifying the situation. He reiterated what he said yesterday, that it’s the Texans’ goal to sign Robinson to a long-term deal.

There are, of course, many subtleties going on when negotiating is done through the media, but Smith explained to a group of reporters that the team did not want to use the tag on Robinson because of the negative feelings involved. He said the process changed with Robinson’s camp declined an offer Smith says would have made him among the highest-paid corners in the league.

“My approach was that we’re going to do everything we can do to get a deal done so that we don’t have to use it, we don’t want to do it,” Smith said. “But things change in a negotiation and we had a value that we had placed on him and there are some deals that had been done at the end of the season and even as recently as this week and we felt like he fit in that area. That was our initial position for him with respect to valuing his contract and we changed on that; we offered him a deal that exceeded that, so we changed a lot of different positions as the thing went, but the whole time, as you know, up until yesterday at 4 p.m., the franchise tag is always in play.

“So when they elected to exercise their right of declining our offer, that was going to make him one of the highest paid corners I football, we exercised our option to tag him. It’s just part of the deal. He’s upset about it, I understand that. But it’s a decision that we felt was best for our organization and our club, because he’s very, very important to our football team, to our defense.”

Smith took the high road on Robinson’s comments, chalking them up to the emotions of going through the negotiating process. He said he called Robinson personally to inform him of the tag, and later exchanged text messages with him.

Texans coach Gary Kubiak also addressed the situation Friday, echoing Smith’s sentiments.

“I think those are probably some comments coming out of the negotiation process, which is only natural due to competitive nature,” Kubiak said. “All I can say that I’m counting on him very much for our football team, counting on him being there. I expect him to be a leader on our football team.”

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