When the Washington Redskins drafted Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Robert Griffin III out of Baylor he was widely hailed as a ‘savior’ for the legendary but embattled franchise. There was good reason for this optimism as ‘RGIII’ had it all–a likable personality, great athleticism, a strong work ethic and a ready to market nickname.
Things started out well for the Skins and RGIII but injuries quickly began to take their toll. There are questions about how well the team managed these injuries but the reality is that RG III was the sort of tough guy that wanted to get back on the field as soon as possible. Unfortunately, it became readily apparent that his effectiveness was diminishing. A concussion in Week Two of the 2015 preseason may have been the final blow for RG III’s career in Washington.
Following the Redskins’ Week 3 preseason win over the Baltimore Ravens, head coach Jay Gruden named backup Kirk Cousins as the starter for the 2015 season. RG III was ‘medically cleared’ by a physician following his concussion but prior to the Ravens game the same doctor decided otherwise, ruling him medically ineligible to play. For now, Colt McCoy will serve as Cousin’s backup.
This all leaves RG III’s status in Washington–short term and long term–in a complete state of flux. Very little is expected of the team this year–NFL betting odds at Sportsbook.ag have them installed as the second biggest longshot to win the NFC title ahead of only the Tampa Bay Bucs. Sources suggest that many within the Redskins’ management and coaching staff wants the team to part company with RG III as soon as possible. They’ve met with resistance from team ownership, though the reasoning for keeping him is not quite clear.
Head coach Gruden denied that there’s any interest in cutting RG III loose praising his qualities as a hard working professional. Gruden also stressed that the decision to name Cousins the starter had everything to do with him ‘winning the job’ and nothing to do with the team’s long term plans for RG III.
But the writing is on the wall and logic suggests that the sooner a decision is made the better. RG III is on the books to earn $16,155,000 in 2016 and barring a miraculous career rebirth there’s no way he’s worth that in current form. That also makes him difficult to trade–even if a team was willing to roll the dice on RG III there’s no viable way they’d take on that salary without a significant subsidy from the Redskins.
It’s doubtful that the situation will go on much longer. Assuming that the ‘football decision’ has been made to go on without RG III (and that seems to be the case) it’s likely that the ownership is just trying to figure out a way to make the numbers work. RG III will be fine financially, but it’s sad to think what might have been for his once promising career.