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Need to Know: Why RG3 won't sign with the Cowboys

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Need to Know: Why RG3 won't sign with the Cowboys

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, February 19, five days before the NFL Combine in Indianapolis.

Why RG3 won’t go to the Cowboys

The next team that Robert Griffin III will play for is already set, according to the conventional wisdom of many fans and members of the media. He is going to sign with the Dallas Cowboys and back up Tony Romo until the veteran retires and then RG3 will become the starting QB in Big D.

There are many reasons why RG3 to Dallas is inevitable. He’s from Texas. When the Redskins played in Dallas in the season finale there were some fans on the sideline with RG3 No. 10 Cowboys jerseys on. He would be welcomed with open arms. Jerry Jones likes high-profile players he certainly was dazzled by what Griffin did to his team in his house on Thanksgiving Day in 2012. The Cowboys need a backup quarterback and Griffin will be available when the Redskins release him sometime between now and March 9.

It’s all too perfect except for one thing—it’s not going to happen.

For one thing, it makes no sense once all of the hoopla is done and the players actually have to take the field and play games. If (when?) Romo gets injured again, Griffin is exactly the wrong person to come in and help the Cowboys win games.

Here is the way that Jean-Jacques Taylor, who covers the Cowboys for ESPN.com and knows the Dallas offense much better than I do, put it in a recent post:
What you must understand is that the Cowboys run a timing-based passing scheme, built around quarterbacks throwing the ball just as the receiver makes his break. No way, based on what we've seen during his four-year NFL career, could Griffin successfully run the Cowboys' offense.
Taylor noted that a member of the Cowboys front office said that In December one member of the Cowboys' front office said, “Griffin was an even worse fit in the Cowboys' offense than [Johnny] Manziel". Taylor concluded by saying, “Someone will give Griffin a chance, but it won't be the Cowboys.”

Not only would Griffin with a star on his helmet not work for the Cowboys, it wouldn’t work for Griffin either. Romo is the established starter in Dallas. He turns 36 in a couple of months which is getting up there in years but far from ancient. Yes he was injured most of last year but that happens. Romo is not a particularly fragile; he had missed a total of two games in the four years leading up to the 2015 season. The backup might get a start here and there but steady work is unlikely.

A chance for Griffin to be the starter is at least a couple of years away. Romo's contract locks him into Dallas for at least two more years, with prohibitive amounts of dead cap in 2016 ($31.9 million) and 2017 ($19.6 million). Maybe they could consider letting him go in 2018 when the dead cap drops to “only” $8.9 million. Of course, they could restructure the deal again and push even more money into later years, again increasing the dead cap to a prohibitive amount.

But even given the shorter, two-year time frame during which Griffin would have to show that he is a better alternative than Romo, will RG3 want to wait that long? He would be entering his age 28 season. It’s not impossible to establish yourself in your late 20’s—Kirk Cousins breakthrough season came last year at the age of 27. But a guy who was driven, perhaps to the point where it was against common sense, to recover from a torn ACL in time for the 2013 season opener doesn’t seem like a guy who would willingly sign on knowing he would have to wait at least two years to be The Man.

To be sure, there aren’t any teams where Griffin could walk in and be the starter. But there are plenty of places where the QB situation is much shakier than it is in Dallas. I count seven—the Jets, Browns, Texans, Broncos, Eagles, Rams, and 49ers. There could be a few more that are under the radar right now. Not all are fits in terms of scheme and culture but all of them are more likely to have Griffin in a situation he plays more in 2016 than he would in Dallas and is more likely be the starter going into 2017 than he would be with the Cowboys.

Not the right situation for the team, not right for the player. Other than those factors, the only ones that really matter, it’s the perfect fit.

Timeline

—The Redskins last played a game 40 days ago. It will be about 206 days until they play another one.

Days until: NFL Combine 5; NFL free agency starts 19; 2016 NFL draft 69

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Redskins Playbook: 2017 schedule reveals some good news for Kirk Cousins

Redskins Playbook: 2017 schedule reveals some good news for Kirk Cousins

The Redskins offense performed at a high level in 2016, moving the ball well though the unit struggled in the red zone. Much of the success comes from Kirk Cousins' ability to quickly advance through his progressions and release the football before he takes too many hits.

Expect more of that in 2017, especially early in the season.

The Redskins don't face their first Top 5 sack defense until Week 9 when they travel to Seattle. From there, Cousins will face another Top 5 sack team when the Vikings visit FedEx Field in Week 10. 

After that, Washington's schedule doesn't feature a Top 5 sack defense until nearly Christmas. Unfortunately for Cousins, those two teams will come back to back in December when the Redskins host the Cardinals and the Broncos.

Sacks should not drive too much worry for Redskins fans. The Washington offensive line only allowed 23 sacks last season, two less than the Cowboys vaunted offensive line gave up on Dak Prescott. Cousins quick release and mastery of Jay Gruden's offense helps too. 

The Redskins have plenty to worry about in 2017, though facing fierce sack opponents shouldn't be too high on the list. 

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Need to Know: The top five running backs the Redskins will face in 2017

Need to Know: The top five running backs the Redskins will face in 2017

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, June 25, 32 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp in Richmond on July 27.

Timeline

The Redskins last played a game 175 days ago; they will open the 2017 season against the Eagles at FedEx Field in 77 days.

Days until:

—Franchise tag contract deadline (7/17) 22
—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 46
—Roster cut to 53 (9/2) 69

The top five running backs the Redskins will face in 2017

Here are the five running backs on the Redskins’ schedule who gained the most yards in 2017. We looked at the top QBs last week.

Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys, 1,631 yards in 2016—The NFL’s leading rusher didn’t pop for a big day against the Redskins as a rookie last year. He still did plenty of damage in two games with a combined 180 yards and three touchdowns. We’ll find out in Week 8 just how much the Redskins’ rushing defense has improved.

David Johnson, Cardinals, 1,239 yards—Yeah, him again. He chewed up the Redskins in Arizona last year, picking up 84 yards rushing and another 91 yards receiving. I think I might pick Johnson over Elliott in a draft simply due to Johnson’s versatility.

LeGarrette Blount, Eagles, 1,161 yards—Blount picked up those yards with the Patriots last year and rushed for 18 touchdowns for good measure. He averaged 3.9 yards per carry, 27th among qualifying running backs. It should be noted that the Eagles probably have a better offensive line than the Patriots do. It’s safe to say Blount is one dimensional; none of the top 50 in rushing yards had fewer than his seven receptions.

Mark Ingram, Saints, 1,043 yards—While Ingram had a good year, the Saints apparently weren’t overly impressed. They signed Adrian Peterson as a free agent and they drafted RB Alvin Kamara in the third round. We’ll have to see who is healthy and on the field in Week 11

Melvin Gordon, Chargers, 997 yards—The 2015 first-round pick missed the last three games and most of another one with an injury. When healthy, he was very effective. His stats projected over 16 games come to over 1,300 yards.

Best of the rest: Carlos Hyde of the 49ers just missed the top five with 988 rushing yards last year Besides Kamara, the only running backs drafted in the first three rounds the Redskins will face are Dalvin Cook (Vikings) and Kareem Hunt (Chiefs). It will be interesting to see if new Rams coach Sean McVay can revive Todd Gurley, who followed a 1,100-yard rookie season with a 4.8 per carry average by gaining 885 yards with a paltry 3.2 average in 2016. Marshawn Lynch comes to town with the Raiders after spending a year in retirement; with the Seahawks, he picked up 111, 72, and 132 on the ground against the Redskins. 

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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