With the second pick in the 2012 draft, Washington selects…
I bet that’s a moment fans in the Nation’s capital would love a do-over on. 2012 turned out to be one of the most talent-filled drafts the NFL has seen in some time. Between Andrew Luck, Russell Wilson, Luke Keuchley, Bobby Wagner, Chandler Jones and the list goes on.
Washington gave up eight picks to move up to second overall in that draft. The belief was that there were two franchise-altering quarterbacks set to join the league in Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III. Washington put itself in the position where whichever quarterback Indianapolis didn’t select would fall to them at two.
Indy took Luck and the rest is history. The Colts have been one of the best teams in the AFC over the last three seasons while Washington has gotten progressively worse.
After one fantastic year in DC that ended with a shocking knee injury, RG3 has had a rough time in the NFL. Griffin threw 20 touchdowns and only 5 interceptions his rookie year. In the last two years, he has only managed to throw 20 more scores while 18 of his passes were picked off. Griffin has been notorious for fumbling throughout his career as well. Not to mention the numerous reports that Griffin has a bit of an attitude problem and blames his teammates. It is clear that he has strayed from the path of franchise QB.
However, there is some upside to the former Baylor quarterback. His career completion percentage sits at a healthy 63.9 for his career, including last year when he completed 68.7 in limited appearances. He also has a respectable 7.62 yards per attempt passing during his career.
Teams could do a lot worse than having Griffin as their starting quarterback. He is definitely injury prone but still has the ability to be successful. Part of his being prone to injury might be due to the number of times Griffin has been hit when he drops back. Washington’s line has allowed more sacks each year since Griffin entered the league, ending last season with a whopping 53 sacks allowed, representing the second worst mark in the NFL. Griffin sustained a concussion during this preseason after he was sacked on three of his eight drop backs against Detroit as well. That stuff doesn’t happen to Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning or Drew Brees.
The management in Washington has also ruined any chance RG3 has of succeeded there. The coaching staff has made it clear that they want him out, as has the management, but rumor has it that Dan Snyder is insistent on keeping Griffin on the team. Washington is in a state of complete disarray at the moment and the best thing for both sides would be to trade or release Griffin. Washington simply needs to wash their hands of the terrible trade they made in 2012 and move on.
It seems unlikely that a trade would happen but it is more than possible that Griffin could hit the open market. Several teams have mentioned that they would have “medium” interest in RG3 if he was a free agent. No one seems overly eager to bring him in.
One team that makes more sense than probably anyone else to sign him has to be Cleveland. The Browns have had the worst luck in terms of quarterbacking play over the last three decades. They have their project Johnny Manziel in progress right now but he is nowhere near ready to roll quite yet. They also have Josh McCown under contract and he will likely be the team’s starter come week 1.
Believe it or not, Griffin would probably be a major upgrade for Cleveland. Bringing him in from Washington on a contract that doesn’t have a ton of guaranteed money over the next two years or so could make a lot of sense. Griffin desperately needs a fresh start and the Browns are searching for the answer at quarterback. Letting Griffin take the reins in Cleveland might just be the spark they need.
The Browns probably still aren’t going to be in the playoff picture but it could be a step in the right direction. It also gives Cleveland another option at quarterback to ensure that they will not need to prematurely throw Manziel on the field.
While moving to Cleveland would be a downgrade for Griffin in terms of his offensive weapons around him, he would have a much better offensive line. Cleveland allowed 31 sacks last season which was in the top half of the league. With five-time All-Pro Joe Thomas protecting his blindside and two-time Pro Bowler Alex Mack organizing the line at center, Griffin will have some time to survey the field from the pocket.
When given time, Griffin has proven that he can be an above average quarterback. He still has to learn how to play without relying on his legs quite so much but there is some hope for him. He is only 25-years old and has plenty left in the tank. He might be fragile but if the Browns can limit the number of times he is hit, then that shouldn’t be a problem.
A strong defense and an run-first offensive approach could benefit Griffin as well. Washington’s poor defense often meant that he was playing from behind but if the Browns can control the clock and the defense improves against the run then Griffin will be in a much better system.
Griffin moving to Cleveland makes a lot of sense. Washington already has a contingency plan in the form of Kirk Cousins. For the Browns, it means bringing in a quarterback with some potential without risking much. Griffin could be the ultimate low-risk high-reward type of player that Cleveland should take a chance on.
As a football fan, I hope Washington releases Griffin and he gets a chance to start elsewhere. I think RG3 could succeed in the right environment and I think it would be a lot of fun to see him in a Browns uniform. If Griffin has something of a turn around and survives the season, Cleveland suddenly would have someone to attract free agents for the first time in years.
Who knows, maybe three years from now we will be talking about how good the Browns are with their stud QB Robert Griffin III. Probably not, but all the same, it really couldn’t hurt the Browns to try. He can’t be much worse than McCown right?