If you’ve been following the Robert Griffin III saga with any regularity over the past few seasons, you probably know that the former Heisman Trophy winner likely won’t be playing in our nation’s capital for much longer.
“Well, it’s certainly trending in that direction,” WJFK Redskins reporter Brian McNally said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “I think we’re heading to the end game here. It’s a difficult thing for any organization to invest as much as the Redskins invested to get Robert Griffin III into town. Obviously it’s been a wasteland for quarterback play here for 20 years, and after his rookie season – probably one of the best rookie seasons in NFL history – everybody thought they had it. And then things just have really gone bad since late that year. So we’re trending certainly in that direction where he can see the end of his time here.”
Griffin was concussed in a preseason game against the Lions on Aug. 20, causing Scott Ferrall to rip Jay Gruden for leaving his franchise quarterback in a meaningless preseason game and letting him take shot after shot behind a shoddy offensive line. Ferrall roasted Gruden on his show that night and later took a shot at Gruden’s weight.
“Jay took your shots in stride, I’ll give him that much,” McNally said. “He didn’t mention you by name, but he was laughing and said ‘Hey, I’m 225. I’m not that big.’”
Either way, Griffin was abused, Gruden was at fault, and the contentious nature between the two is palpable.
“You can sense the poisonous atmosphere there for real,” McNally said. “That’s one of those things that, as Robert struggles, as the line struggles, as the Redskins head into a season where they’re already picked to finish last in the division anyway – and they have already lost five players for the season – the expectations are extremely low. We know that Robert is heading into that phase here if he doesn’t suddenly morph into a quarterback that can play at even a mid-level of NFL player, if he doesn’t get that, he’s not going to be here next year.”
And yet, the Redskins picked up Griffin’s fifth-year, $16-million option next season.
“They did pick up the option, but the option comes with a small risk,” McNally explained. “It’ll be $16 million, but they don’t have to honor it. In other words, at the end of the season, if he’s healthy – and that’s the key provision here – if he’s healthy and can pass a physical and they don’t like how he played, they can just cut ties with him. The fifth-year option doesn’t necessarily carry over.”
To be clear, if Griffin is healthy, the Redskins can cut him; if he is not healthy, the Redskins have to pay him.
“So if the Redskins took a risk, they took a pretty big one,” McNally said. “They kind of have downplayed it and said it was a no-brainer to pick up the option because if he plays well, we can keep him at a reasonable price, and if he doesn’t, we can cut ties with him. Well, he’s got to play well first of all, and he’s got to stay healthy. The organization is taking some massive risk there expecting that to happen. We’ll see how it works out.”