Originally published on The Fordham Ram on September 30, 2015.
The odyssey of Robert Griffin III is an unbearably sad one, made more so by the fact that there was not much he could do to change his course.
The Washington Redskins understandably bet the farm on RGIII being a franchise-altering player, trading their 2012 number six overall pick, their second rounder that year and three more first round picks to the Rams to move up to the number two slot. The gamble looked good at first, as RGIII’s rookie season seemed to be a resounding success. However, following his torn LCL and ACL in the NFC Wild Card game, everything took a turn for the worse, both in his career and his relationship with Washington.
While I am usually not a firm believer in any sort of effect a “change in scenery” can have, with Griffin I find it warranted. Washington’s transgressions against RGIII and his health have been well documented, and they culminated this year in him being named the third-string quarterback on the roster behind proven studs Kirk Cousins (he of the highest interception rate in the NFL) and Colt McCoy (one of many failed Browns signal callers).
And being a third stringer, it could happen. Ever since he was placed in that role, to the point where he played safety on the Washington scout team, rumors have been swirling. His contract is structured so that a trade is unlikely, but there are multiple teams interested if he is cut outright. RGIII has always come off as a guy who really just wants to play football, has a fun time doing it and makes it fun for the rest of us. He just cannot do that in Washington.
One of the potential landing spots for Griffin is the Buffalo Bills, which I think would be a great spot. Besides finally having an offensive line that could block for him and a system that would benefit from his leadership, he would have a coach in Rex Ryan who could routinely draw attention away from the potential superstar.
Another potential spot is the Philadelphia Eagles. While it may seem a bit too soon to bail on Chip Kelly’s main prize this offseason in Sam Bradford (why did we think that would work out?), an RGIII type player could fit right into his high-octane offense. However, they do not offer him the line protection that he needs at this pivotal point in his career.
Once again, the Cleveland Browns are in search of a franchise QB, since Josh McCown is not as good as they pretend he is, and Johnny Manziel probably never will be. Mike Pettine does find ways to get his playmakers the ball, and has built a strong line with picks not used on little guys from Texas A&M.
Griffin is a player who threw for 3200 yards as a rookie, completing 65.6% of his passes for 20 touchdowns and tossing just five interceptions. He just needs to be protected, both by a real offensive line and by a coaching staff and management who understand that the guy just wants people to like him and wants to be able to do his job sans distractions.
I hope RGIII escapes the Washington maelstrom. An NFL with more exciting players is a better NFL, and he is just that. Maybe then we can see a happy RGIII for the first time in two years.