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RG3 Released: Possible Landing Spots

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Update: Robert Griffin, III has been released by the Washington Redskins.

The only constant in life is change and the National Football League is a league based on nearly constant change, especially at the quarterback position.

There’s no better example of this than soon-to-be former Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin, III.

Just four years ago, RG3 was the darling of the draft process after becoming the first Baylor Bear to win the Heisman Trophy and the Redskins gave up a king’s ransom to move into the second-overall pick in the draft to select him.

After a spectacular rookie season which culminated in a Rookie of the Year award along with an NFC East title, the dynamic Griffin tore his ACL in the team’s playoff loss to the Seattle Seahawks and his career in Washington was never the same.

After his benching for Kirk Cousins at the beginning of 2015, and Cousins’ subsequent great season, the obvious was confirmed by Redskins President Bruce Allen in a radio interview on Tuesday when he was asked if RG3 would be on the ‘Skins roster in 2016.

“Well, no. I see Robert getting an opportunity with another team,” Allen said. “We’ve heard from some teams that are interested. I think he’s going to have a choice of a couple teams that will let him excel in the future.”

Since he had so much early success and he was such a high draft pick, Griffin’s career is far from over. With that said, his next move is his most important one as it’s going to be difficult for him to potentially get a starting chance with a third different team if this next one doesn’t work out.

The teams that have been most frequently mentioned as potential RG3 destinations are the Cleveland Browns, Los Angeles Rams and Houston Texans.

Here’s why it doesn’t make a lot of sense for those teams and the former second-overall pick:

  • The Browns have the second-overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft and new head coach Hue Jackson will have a longer leash to develop a rookie quarterback.  Two years ago, Houston passed on Blake Bortles, Teddy Bridgewater and Derek Carr to go with stop-gap veterans and although they’re a decent team, they’re wasting the prime of a great defense.  It’s not a good look for Texans head coach Bill O’Brien.
  • Speaking of O’Brien, there doesn’t really seem to be any fit between Griffin and what the Texans are looking for in a quarterback.  They don’t run any type of spread, O’Brien has never run it and once again, if you’re going to teach a quarterback an entirely new system, you’re probably going to be better off with a rookie who hasn’t developed as many bad habits.
  • The Rams are the best fit of the three, but there is a major lack of weapons on the outside and there’s no guarantee that RG3 can beat out Case Keenum or Nick Foles.  Yes, that’s how far his stock has dropped.  If Griffin can’t win the starting job there, he won’t get another legitimate shot as a starter anywhere.

Griffin will have plenty of options to be a backup quarterback with teams like the Dallas Cowboys, Green Bay Packers, Indianapolis Colts and Buffalo Bills.  Those could all be legitimately solid situations where he can learn for a year or two and then re-enter the market.

The situation that makes the most amount of sense for both team and player is that of the San Francisco 49ers.

What about Colin Kaepernick?

New 49ers head coach Chip Kelly has done anything but commit to Kaepernick and it’s anybody’s guess whether he’ll be on the opening Sunday roster, much less the starter.

The idea of having two extremely mobile, spread quarterbacks who can throw could bring the genius back into Kelly’s resume.

Football Insiders asked an NFL executive why teams don’t run more spread offenses and here’s what he said.

“It’s more of an attrition thing than anything else,” the source stated.  “Look at Baylor last year, they were on their fifth quarterback playing in that system.  You obviously wouldn’t go through five guys because the NFL guys would be bigger and stronger and more skilled at avoiding the big hits, but you don’t have enough cap room for multiple guys and asking one legitimately talented guy to get through an entire season unscathed is asking a lot.”

Therein lies the beauty of this potential situation for the 49ers.  RG3 isn’t going to be able to demand starter money because there likely isn’t a starting job available to him.  Kelly can run his spread system with Griffin and Kaepernick and whoever the best man is wins the opening day starter job.  The backup will likely see the field at some point in the year and they can go ahead with a spread offense that has a mobile quarterback for the first time in Kelly’s NFL coaching career.  This would guarantee an eighth man at the line of scrimmage and open up easy reads in the passing game.  Something that both Griffin and Kaepernick thrived with in the earlier parts of their careers.

The risk of going to San Francisco from RG3’s standpoint is minimal.  If he doesn’t win the starting quarterback job many will point to the difference in potential salaries between Kaepernick and him and that won’t be a huge knock.  If he goes there and looks good in the offseason, he could force Kaep’s release and he’s a starter again for a legendary franchise.  The best part is that he’ll have a head coach that understands and can cater to his skill set.

At this point, finding the right coach and the right fit for the Griffin entourage should be paramount and there isn’t a better one than in San Francisco with Chip Kelly.


About Charlie Bernstein

Charlie Bernstein

Charlie Bernstein is the managing football editor for Football Insiders and has covered the NFL for over a decade.  Charlie has hosted drive time radio for NBC and ESPN affiliates in different markets around the country, along with being an NFL correspondent for ESPN Radio and WFAN.  He has been featured on the NFL Network as well as Sirius/XM NFL Radio and has been published on Fox Sports, Sports Illustrated, ESPN as well as numerous other publications.