It appears that the Robert Griffin III saga with the Redskins is going to go on, at least for a while longer. According to a report all of the major decision makers in the organization have concluded that the best thing to do is to keep Griffin on the roster as the No. 2 quarterback behind Kirk Cousins.
But is it really the best thing to do? There are a number of sound reasons for the Redskins to move on from Griffin sooner rather than later.
—If he gets injured in practice or during a game, the team could be on the hook to pay him over $16 million next year.
—It puts a lot of pressure on Cousins. If he makes a mistake could be looking over his shoulder at the guy who was once the savior of the franchise.
—The very presence of Griffin in the building tends to create distractions. He can say the wrong thing to the media, put up a social media post that invites intense scrutiny or do any number of things that can put the spotlight on him and take it away from the other 52 players on the team.
—Giving Griffin a chance to move on and find another team could be the best for him. A fresh start could revive his career and give him a chance at success.
But there are valid counter arguments to each of these:
—The chances of him getting an injury severe enough to have him fail a physical next March are pretty slim. Practice is non-contact for quarterbacks. He could get hurt in a game but that is a chance they are willing to take.
—If Cousins can’t handle the pressure of having a quarterback who hasn’t played well for two seasons, how is he going to go into Dallas and win? Cousins has earned his opportunity but a quarterback in his position has to expect to have a competent backup behind him. Whether it’s Griffin, Colt McCoy, or someone else, Cousins should have a backup who is a threat to take his job behind him until he earns the right to be fully trusted.
—Griffin has every incentive to be a model citizen for however long he remains with the Redskins. He will spend the season auditioning for a 2016 backup job either in Washington or, more likely, elsewhere. If he ends up being a distraction his options will be extremely limited when he is looking for a job next spring. He is probably going to be on his best behavior.
—An NFL contract perhaps is unfair but it is what it is. If it is in the best interest of the team to keep him the contract gives them the right to do so. What the player wants is secondary to what the team wants. I recall that not too long ago many thought that Cousins should be let go or traded to give him a chance to start and prosper elsewhere. Things change and now Cousins has his chance to start.
The arguments for him to stay don’t necessarily invalidate the case for him to go. This move ultimately will be judged by results. If he takes over as the starter at some point and is productive the decision to keep him will be a success. If he should get injured and become a drag on the 2016 salary cap the decision for him to stay will be a disaster.
It is most likely that the outcome will be something in the middle. We will see how it all plays out.