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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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Over/under: Redskins running backs in 2017

Over/under: Redskins running backs in 2017

Redskins running backs over-under

The Redskins’ running backs depth chart looks quite different from how it did a year ago. Rob Kelley, who was “ninth-string” back last year per Jay Gruden, is the starter. Samaje Perine enters the mix with expectations that exceed those normally assigned to a fourth-round pick. Chris Thompson is the constant as the third-down back. What kind of numbers will they put up this year? Redskins Insiders Rich Tandler and JP Finlay go over-under on some Redskins running back stats. 

Rob Kelley, 1,000 rushing yards

Tandler: If you project Kelley’s production in the nine games he started over 16 games it comes to about 1,050 yards. He had his ups and downs in those nine starts and he will have them this year. But he should have enough ups to be able to average the 62.5 yards per game needed to hit the thousand-yard mark. Over

Finlay: Unlike wide receivers, where 25 guys broke the 1,000 yard mark in 2016, it's getting harder and harder for a running back to hit four-figures. In 2016, only 12 RBs ran for more than 1,000 yards, and only eight got over 1,100 yards. As the NFL becomes more and more of a passing league, less backs are getting the carries sufficient for a 1,000 yard season. The Redskins haven't had a 1,000 yard rusher since Alfred Morris in 2014. While I think Kelley gets the bulk of the yardage, I think it caps out about 900 yards and Chris Thompson and Samaje Perine creep into the total. Under

RELATED: Who's next at QB for the Redskins?

Kelley, 10 rushing touchdowns

Tandler: He scored six as the starter last year and doing the math that comes to 11 over 16 games. But last year there wasn’t a player like Perine, who could come into the game and vulture some touchdowns after Kelley did the work to get the ball in goal to go position. Under

Finlay: Sorry to keep going back to stats, but last year only seven running backs got to 10 TDs or more. Only seven! Hard to see Kelley getting there on a team that didn't run all that much, or all that well either, in 2016. Under

Samaje Perine, 500 rushing yards

Tandler: It tough to set a line for a guy who hasn’t played. I’ll go off Matt Jones’ 2015 rookie season when he gained 490 yards while sharing time with Alfred Morris. If Perine averages four yards per carry, which is not hard to do, he’ll need about eight carries per game to get to 500. It’s close but if Kelley is effective, as I believe he will be, Perine might not get enough carries to have a chance. Under

Finlay: Tandler's Matt Jones comp pretty much works for Perine, but Jones had explosive speed that Perine doesn't have. A better comp for me was Derrick Henry last year as a rookie with the Titans. DeMarco Murray was established as the top dog, and Henry worked for a productive 490 yards. Under

MORE REDSKINS: Offer to Cousins not nearly enough

Chris Thompson, 60 pass receptions

Tandler: His role is beyond just third down. If the Redskins are behind in the fourth quarter, Thompson is usually in there to try to help spark a rally. Along with TE Jordan Reed and WR Jamison Crowder, Thompson will benefit from Kirk Cousins’ familiarity with him. Over

Finlay: Thompson should be a strong contributor in 2017, but 60 catches is a lot for a running back. Only David Johnson (80) and Le'Veon Bell (75) went over that number in 2016, while James White had exactly 60 catches. Thompson grabbed 49 balls in 2016, an impressive total. I could actually see Thompson getting a bigger percentage increase in carries, he had 68 rushes last season with a very solid 5.2 YPC, than catches. Under

<<<NFL POWER RANKINGS: WHO GOT BETTER AFTER THE DRAFT>>>

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN and @Rich_TandlerCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

ROSTER BATTLES: Left guard | Tight end Nickel cornerback  | Inside linebacker | Running back

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#RedskinsTalk Podcast: Final refresh before 2017 season truly begins

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#RedskinsTalk Podcast: Final refresh before 2017 season truly begins

Rich Tandler and JP Finlay wrap up the Redskins offseason and prepare for what will be the most intriguing and the most overplayed storylines at training camp in Richmond.

<<<NFL POWER RANKINGS: WHO GOT BETTER AFTER THE DRAFT>>>

Want more Redskins? Click here to follow JP on Facebook and check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates via Twitter! Click here for the #RedskinsTalk on Apple Podcasts, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

ROSTER BATTLES: Left guard | Tight end Nickel cornerback  | Inside linebacker | Running back