There was a time when Robert Griffin III’s future in Washington seemed limitless. In fact, some said he represented the future of the NFL. Like Michael Vick was supposed to be a decade or so earlier, RGIII was to become a new-age quarterback/weapon. The first quarterback who could be truly as dangerous throwing as he was on the run.
His unlimited potential is why the Redskins traded three first-round picks and a second-round pick to move up to get him with the second pick of the 2012 draft. It’s why he instantly became a favorite of owner Dan Snyder, who even forced coach Mike Shanahan out when he reportedly took RGIII’s side in an internal squabble. It’s why, in his two NFL seasons, so many opposing defenders spoke of him with awe.
But now that RGIII is out with a dislocated ankle – the second major injury of his young career – it’s fair to wonder if he has much of a future at all. The Redskins appear to thrive when the less-mobile, more pocket-oriented Kirk Cousins is under center. And it sure looks like the ‘Skins are at least open to the idea of Cousins permanently taking RGIII’s place at the helm.
“Crazy things have happened in the NFL,” Washington coach Jay Gruden said when asked about that possibility. “I am not going to discount anybody or anything. I am not going to try and pull out a crystal ball and say what is going to happen tomorrow or next week. I know for the next six weeks we are going to concentrate on Kirk as a quarterback. We feel very strongly that he can get the job done.
“Whatever happens after that, I will deal with then.”
Well, imagine this scenario, then. Cousins turns the hapless Redskins into winners and the team thrives in its new offense with a quarterback who plays a more traditional style. Griffin still has “significant” value around the NFL, according to a report in the Washington Post. So could Washington recoup some of its losses in an offseason trade?
It’s certainly possible if RGIII recovers fully from his latest serious injury. And if he does, here are some of the teams that should be knocking at the Redskins’ door:
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Houston Texans –
Ryan Fitzpatrick is just a place-holder for Bill O’Brien until they can find a franchise quarterback, and there aren’t many that believe the answer is Tom Savage, their fourth-round pick who enjoyed unbelievable pre-draft hype. RGIII is also a Texas native and a Baylor product. It would be about as soft a landing spot as he could find.
Tennessee Titans – Jake Locker is in his fourth and what should be his final season with the Titans, who need a fresh start all around. RGIII wouldn’t just jumpstart their offense, he’d give them a huge boost of excitement and energy which they’ve lacked since coach Jeff Fisher left town.
Dallas Cowboys – Jerry Jones regretted not drafting Johnny Manziel about five minutes after the Cowboys passed on him, because he thought Johnny Football would help keep his franchise relevant. Well, RGIII – again, a Texas native – would do the same. And it would give them a future beyond the career of Tony Romo, who is 33.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Josh McCown isn’t a long-term or short-term solution for their problems, and the Lovie Smith regime seems set against handing the ball to young Mike Glennon. They are destined to draft a QB in the first round next spring – possibly with the No. 1 overall pick. They might be able to fix their problems quicker if they get one with experience, like RGIII.
St. Louis Rams – Sam Bradford was once supposed to be their future, but he’s had worse injury luck than Griffin. Now the Rams are stuck with Shaun Hill and Austin Davis and they have to be looking toward their next franchise quarterback. Coach Jeff Fisher once had a lot of success turning a quarterback who liked to run in Steve McNair into a terrific all-around weapon. Maybe with RGIII he could do the same.
New England Patriots – Tom Brady is 37 years old and they don’t yet have a succession plan. Brady said he’s going to play until he stinks, and he’s not close to that yet. RGIII would be a little too high-octane to be a backup, but if any organization can handle that it’s the Bill Belichick machine.
—By Ralph Vacchiano