The Dallas Cowboys very much want to bring Laurent Robinson back this season after he provided a real boost to the passing game with hamstring injuries wiping out much of Miles Austin’s season.

But they will not be able to re-sign the wide receiver until he is on the open market as a free agent.

Todd Archer of ESPN Dallas explains that because Robinson was signed to a minimum salary benefit deal this past season, he cannot be re-signed until free agency opens March 13.

The Cowboys can meet with Robinson’s agent Harold Lewis – and the hope is to do just that this week from the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis – but a deal can’t be struck.

“The conversation with him goes more like, ‘What are you thinking and then we’ll think about it,’” Cowboys vice president Stephen Jones said, according to Archer.

The journeyman Robinson provided was a stabilizing factor for the offense as he led the team with 11 touchdowns in just 14 games. He caught 54 passes for 858 yards in a breakthrough season and established himself as a player worthy of attention in free agency.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune