After last season’s injury-riddled debacle, many Washington Redskins fans questioned whether or not the team would commit to their prized quarterback. After all, Robert Griffin III did bring the Redskins to the playoffs in his rookie season, and on more than one occasion has demonstrated the talent necessary to succeed in the NFL.
However, ever since his rookie year knee injury, the Washington quarterback has hardly been the same, and last season demonstrated that the Redskins simply don’t know what to do with him.
Last season alone, the Redskins started three different quarterbacks: Robert Griffin III, Kirk Cousins and Colt McCoy. While McCoy and Cousins won the ‘Skins a few games and showed flashes of brilliance, ultimately they demonstrated that their place in the NFL is likely in a backup role.
Now, in picking up RG3’s option, they’ve shown a commitment to him. The Redskins easily could have let Griffin test the free agent market next summer, which is notoriously unkind to quarterbacks, or simply waited until after the season to evaluate whether or not they want to move forward with RG3.
Despite their many options, the Redskins management chose instead to demonstrate faith in their young quarterback, picking up his lavish fifth-year option, rather than letting him walk or negotiating a more team-friendly deal in the offseason. The move showcased that despite all his injuries, shortcomings and mediocre production, the Redskins still believe Robert Griffin III has a place as a starting quarterback in the NFL.
While the previous paragraph is the story that Redskins brass will tell you, and quite frankly the one I believe, there exists a more conniving version of this RG3 narrative that may come into fruition over the next few days.
The Redskins may be looking to trade Griffin. Teams like the Bills, Jets and even the division rival Eagles would greatly benefit from having a quarterback with both Griffin’s skill set and skill level, and will undoubtedly make calls on draft day to see if he is available. While I do not believe this will happen, don’t be surprised if RG3 is taking snaps in Buffalo, New York or Philly next season.
Ultimately, picking up the RG3 option signifies not only a commitment on the part of the Redskins to their starting quarterback, but also a foreshadowing of their draft strategy. Despite the fact the ‘Skins worked out Marcus Mariota, I firmly believe they will draft defense, because the presence of RG3.
The departure of Brian Orakpo leaves Washington devoid of defensive playmakers, so I expect a big, bruising defender to be the Redskins’ fifth overall pick. Pending an unlikely trade, Griffin is the quarterback of the future in Washington, and in picking up this option, the Redskins have demonstrated that publicly.
The second year in any new coaching system is paramount for a quarterback, and that will be the case for Griffin with second-year head coach Jay Gruden. With the confidence of the organization behind him, expect a bounce-back year for RG3.