Top 5 candidates to be Griffin's next team
With Washington Redskins head coach Jay Gruden announcing Kirk Cousins as his Week 1 starter, there were headlines all over the place about what the team should do with Robert Griffin III. It’s quite the fall from grace for both quarterback and franchise, considering what Dan Snyder and company gave up to get the former Heisman Trophy winner with the No. 2 overall pick in 2012.
To be fair, Griffin hasn’t been given the support he has needed by the team that drafted him. But the drop-off in his play since his outstanding 2012 rookie campaign has been remarkable:
2012 grade: +31.6
2013 grade: -3.4
2014 grade: -17.2
However, the fact that he put up such an impressive performance means it’s unlikely we’ve seen the last of RG III as an NFL QB, even if his next job is in a backup role. While his contract makes a trade highly unlikely, we’ve identified some teams that would be good fits for him if he were to become available (either if the Redskins cut him, or later down the line):
Atlanta Falcons: The Falcons have a franchise QB in Matt Ryan, but his backup situation consists of T.J. Yates, Sean Renfree and Rex Grossman. Atlanta OC Kyle Shanahan employs one of the most QB-friendly systems in the NFL, and RG III has familiarity with it already from their time together in Washington. Yates hasn’t given any reason for us to believe he is a viable backup, with a -5.2 PFF grade this preseason.
Baltimore Ravens: Another team with a franchise QB in place, Joe Flacco, the Ravens employ Matt Schaub as a backup. Schaub was a solid starter in 2012, but had a knack for throwing the ball to the other team – and his 2013 and 2014 seasons were borderline disastrous. With Marc Trestman as offensive coordinator, Griffin would do well to learn and develop under Flacco.
Cleveland Browns: A team that Griffin could actually start for this season, the Browns have a quarterback problem. With Josh McCown (-20.5 pass grade in 2014) as the starter and Johnny Manziel shut down for the rest of the preseason because of chronic elbow soreness (and playing very poorly in his limited rookie-year action), Cleveland doesn’t currently have a long-term answer at the position.
Philadelphia Eagles: Head coach Chip Kelly has made some unexpected moves this offseason, including at the QB position by trading Nick Foles to the Rams for Sam Bradford, and Griffin bears some resemblance to Bradford in terms of his being a former Heisman winner with big-time physical talent who hasn’t yet realized his potential in the NFL (and Griffin’s rookie season is considerably better than anything Bradford has produced to date). Griffin also possesses a running element to his game, which was something of a staple of Kelly’s Oregon offenses. Not to mention, Kelly has taken chances on players with extensive injury histories like Griffin’s before (Bradford included). This is one to keep an eye on.
St. Louis Rams: This option would make the 2012 NFL draft, with Griffin going to the team that could have drafted him with the No. 2 overall pick before trading it to Washington. But it makes sense considering the unknown of Foles outside of Chip Kelly’s offense. With Case Keenum as a backup, the Rams are hoping Foles produces at his 2013 level and stays healthy. Foles has been hot (+2.1 versus Indianapolis) and cold (-2.8 versus Tennessee) this preseason, while Keenum hasn’t shown much against backups. This is another place where Griffin could potentially get a shot to start in the future.