Why RG III isn't Cleveland's long-term answer at QB
Former Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III signed with the Cleveland Browns today (per a report from Adam Schefter), but that shouldn’t be any kind of answer to the team’s quarterback issues. By the end of Griffin’s tenure in Washington, he was an unworkable disaster at QB—a far cry from the exciting rookie we saw back in 2012.
In 2014, RG III earned a -14.0 cumulative PFF grade on just 472 snaps (0.0 is considered average), which is vying for the worst grading pace we have seen among quarterbacks. The worrying part is that he was getting worse as that season progressed and descending into oblivion as a starter.
That season, he still had a passer rating of over 100.0 when kept clean in the pocket, but when the heat was applied, he fell to pieces entirely and threw just one touchdown to four picks, with a passer rating of 53.0 and ugly numbers across the board.
What we saw was a quarterback whose mechanics and poise had broken down, and a guy who just wasn’t able to get things back on track.
RG III needs to be re-built from the ground up, and the Browns might have the right man to do it in head coach Hue Jackson, a leader with a reputation for his work with quarterbacks.
What the Browns are hoping to uncover is the RG III of 2012, the rookie that impressed hugely in an offense that made the most of his athletic talent and utilized his ability to make accurate passes off the back of that running threat. That year, he finished the season completing 65 percent of his passes at 8.0 yards per attempt. He threw 22 touchdowns to only six interceptions and had eight games with a passer rating over 100.0, including one with a perfect rating of 158.3.
The talent of Griffin is undeniable, but the odds of rediscovering that player are not good, and this should not be seen as a move that addresses Cleveland’s quarterback situation at all. They should move forward as if Josh McCown is the interim starter and a rookie quarterback is the future face of the franchise; instead of a low-round developmental player like Connor Shaw or Austin Davis as the No. 3 QB, they have a reclamation project in RG III.
If the Browns are taking that approach, this is a fantastic shot at something they can simply move on from if it doesn’t work out, but which could pay off in a huge way if it does.
According to Schefter, the deal is a two-year, $15 million contract with $6.75 million in total guaranteed money. That’s a lot of cash for a No. 3 QB, but even with the team taking another passer with the second-overall pick in the draft, they would still have less money tied up in their QB group than the Eagles.
If, however, they see this move as a serious answer to their quarterback issues, and think it allows them to move Josh McCown on, or forego drafting a quarterback early in the draft, then they are just setting themselves up for renewed hurt and another name on the infamous jersey of shame.