Quick Links

Need to Know: Why the Redskins need to release RG3 today

Need to Know: Why the Redskins need to release RG3 today

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, February 23, one day before the NFL Combine in Indianapolis.

Why the Redskins should release RG3 today

The time has come.

The Redskins need to release Robert Griffin III from his $16.15 million 2016 option contract and they need to do it today.

Perhaps they should have done it a while ago, sometime between August 31 of last year when Jay Gruden handed the keys to the franchise to Kirk Cousins and last week.

But they have held on to Griffin for a couple of reasons. They want to see if they can generate some trade action for him. That would involve the Redskins finding a team so interested in Griffin that they would want to give up a draft pick to get him rather than waiting until March 9 when the Redskins have to cut him. Then, if the Redskins can locate that team they would have to persuade Griffin to give up his right to shop his services wherever he wants to and negotiate a new contract with this team since nobody is going to trade for him at $16 million per year.

Sounds far fetched, right? Yeah, it’s not happening.

The other reason Griffin remains a Redskin is that organization wants to use him as some sort of leverage, a “pawn” in the words of one former agent, in negotiations for a new contract for Cousins. I would love to hear Cousins’ agent laughing when they tried to tell him that they could let Cousins walk and go with a $16 million player they benched and who wants nothing to do with him. In fact, watching Bruce Allen try to claim that with a straight face might be pretty amusing, too.

Even though both of these ploys have been pointless for quite some time there really hasn’t been any reason to let Griffin go. Why not keep him in hopes that an NFL team completely loses its mind or that Cousins’ agent Mike McCartney wakes up one morning suffering from some sort of temporary amnesia and forgets all of what has transpired regarding Griffin since 2012? But tomorrow the NFL Combine starts and that’s why the Redskins should cut ties with Griffin today.

Jay Gruden will be addressing the media on Wednesday afternoon. And won’t be just the local media, who know the story on Griffin and would keep questions on why he’s still there to a minimum. There will be national reporters and media from every NFL team. Any beat writer from any team who might be interested in Griffin will be there looking for quotes about RG3.

So, instead of talking about how his 2015 playoff team is going to look to make itself better this year he could be in a situation where he is getting peppered with questions about a player who will definitively not be with the team in two weeks.

And Gruden is not a very good liar. That’s a fine quality for a human being, not so much for one who would be expected to continue the bluff and say that Griffin could still be a part of their plans going forward.

So, which will it be? Can one of the voices of the Redskins appear in front of media from all over the league and paint a vision of what a bright future will look like? Or will Gruden have to keep up the charade and keep rehashing the team’s dysfunctional past?

The choice seems obvious but there is no guarantee that the organization will take the right course of action.

Timeline

—The Redskins last played a game 44 days ago. It will be about 201 days until they play another one.

Days until: NFL Combine 1; NFL free agency starts 15; 2016 NFL draft 65

In case you missed it

Quick Links

True or false: The Redskins will carry four tight ends on the roster

True or false: The Redskins will carry four tight ends on the roster

True or false: The Redskins will carry four tight ends on their roster this year.

Rich Tandler: True

The Redskins added a tight end to a roster that had four experienced players at the position already on it. But, make no mistake, fifth-round selection Jeremy Sprinkle was not a “luxury” pick.

Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis are both stone cold locks to make the roster. They are the pass catchers who are expected to combine for perhaps 1,500 yards and at least a dozen touchdowns.

The third tight end could be Niles Paul, a veteran who has battled injuries the last two years. He appears to be healthy and if he stays that way he can play tight end, be the fullback on the six or eight snaps per game the Redskins use one, and be a strong contributor on special teams.

MORE REDSKINS: TRESS WAY HIT A BYSTANDER WHILE GOLFING, BUT GRUDEN ISN'T SURPRISED

Sprinkle can fill a role that those three can’t—blocking tight end. Jay Gruden had to put tackle Ty Nsekhe on the field when they needed a three-tight end set. That made the job of the defense easier with essentially four eligible receivers to deal with.

With a well-defined role for each player, it would make perfect sense for the Redskins to carry four tight ends on the 53-man roster rather than the customary three. Of course, if they carry four at tight end they have to go with one fewer player elsewhere. They will find a spot.

Running back seems to be the logical place to go for that spot. If they keep, say, Mack Brown as the fourth running back, you then have a player without a defined role. He’s the backup to the backup to the backup. Sure, he can do special teams, but not as well as Paul.

Perhaps if you want to keep Brown you let go of Paul with his recent injury history and his $2.2 million cap number in mind. Or you can let Sprinkle get some seasoning on the practice squad.

But I think that the Redskins drafted Sprinkle with the plan to keep four tight ends. If they are going to go with their best, most versatile 53 that is what they will do.

JP Finlay: False

Man, this is tough. If you asked me this in May, I thought Niles Paul would be caught in a roster crunch. After watching the guys on the field through OTAs and minicamp, this decision becomes much harder. 

Paul played well in those sessions, showed no rust from the injuries and impressed regardless what quarterback he was paired up with. Sprinkle looked like a rookie with a lot to learn, and while he's really big, he still seemed like his upper body could fill out in the NFL. 

In a vacuum it's easy to say the Redskins should keep four tight ends. Like Tandler laid out above, Reed and Davis are roster locks. Paul can help in a ton of spots, and Sprinkle should evolve into the blocking tight end for the jumbo set. 

But NFL rosters aren't made in vacuums. To keep a fourth tight end, the Redskins will have to make a cut, and Tandler suggested Mack Brown could be the guy. I don't see that happening. Jay Gruden and Randy Jordan speak glowingly about Brown. 

This will be a fun roster spot to watch, but in June, before any injuries or the competition of training camp, I think the Redskins keep Reed, Davis and Paul. Then they really, really hope they can sneak the rookie Sprinkle to their practice squad.

Washington has not kept three healthy tight ends on their roster in the last few seasons, and if that trend continues, Sprinkle would make the NFL roster before the end of the year. Keeping four tight ends just isn't a luxury the Redskins have, especially keeping three quarterbacks like they're expected to do. 

Tandler-Finlay True or False series: Leading rusher | Leading receiver

Quick Links

Standouts and scrubs: Looking at Bruce Allen's track record with quarterbacks

Standouts and scrubs: Looking at Bruce Allen's track record with quarterbacks

Much can be learned looking to the past, at least that's what thousands of college students hear every fall when they sit down for History 101. Assuming the premise is true, perhaps something can be learned from looking back at Bruce Allen's tenure across the NFL and the quarterbacks that started for those teams. 

A refresher: Allen worked with the Raiders and Bucs before coming to the Redskins. Allen started with the Raiders in 1995, and worked his way up through the front office, earning the NFL's Executive of the Year award in 2002. He left the Raiders to work with Jon Gruden in Tampa in 2004, after the pair experienced much success together with the Raiders. Tampa fired Allen in 2008, and he came to work with the Redskins in 2010. 

His tenure with the Raiders showcased the best QB find in his file: Rich Gannon. Before coming to Oakland, Gannon earned the journeyman title, starting 58 games over 11 seasons for the Chiefs, Vikings and, yes, the Redskins.

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

Once Gannon and Gruden worked together, everything clicked. The Raiders started winning games and Gannon started to pile up impressive offensive stats. He was the quarterback when Oakland lost the infamous 'Tuck Rule' playoff game against New England, and won an NFL MVP award in 2002 while guiding the Raiders to the Super Bowl (which they lost to a Jon Gruden coached Tampa team). 

Gannon was a find, undoubtedly. Beyond that, Allen's resume on quarterbacks gets pretty ugly.

In fact, Kirk Cousins would probably rank as the second best QB of all Bruce Allen teams. In Tampa, the quarterback position was a revolving door, and included luminaries (sarcasm font) like Chris Simms, Brian Griese and Bruce Gradkowski. The Bucs added Jeff Garcia in 2007, and he had some success, but was 37 years old at that point. 

Once he got to Washington, the Redskins trotted out a collection of subpar passers like a past-his-prime Donovan McNabb, a-never-actually-good John Beck and Rex Grossman. Rex needs no introduction. 

In 2012, the Redskins quarterback fortunes changed. The team made a very aggressive trade to draft Robert Griffin III. RG3 was supposed to be the franchise savior, and for much of his rookie season, that plan seemed to be working. 

Injuries and infighting ruined Griffin's time with the Redskins, and opened the door for 2012 fourth-round pick Kirk Cousins to emerge. 

RELATED: TRESS WAY HIT A GIRL WHILE GOLFING, BUT JAY GRUDEN ISN'T SURPRISED

Now, in 2017, Cousins has twice broken the Redskins single season passing yards record and cemented himself as a quality NFL starter. His long-term future with the organization remains uncertain, as Cousins will play this season on a one-year contract and the prospect of a multi-year contract seems slim. 

It's hard to draw too many conclusions looking the quarterbacks throughout Allen's tenure. Before Gannon in Oakland, the Raiders tried a variety of other journeyman QBs (Jeff Hostetler, Jeff George). One could argue they got lucky with Gannon, or that the organization brought out his best tools. Either way it's a positive grade.

In Tampa, the results look much worse. On paper, it seemed the Bucs tried to get cheap, available quarterbacks and make them work, believing strongly in their offensive system. It didn't work. 

In Washington, particularly during the Grossman/Beck season, it seemed the Redskins tried a similar approach. That ended in 2012 with the trade for RG3. The Redskins paid up big time, in the form of draft picks. 

Now it's arguable that a deal with Cousins can even be reached, but if that does happen, it will be because the Redskins pay up. Recent history doesn't suggest it, but this situation has never presented itself either. Cousins is a fourth-round pick that emerged after a few volatile seasons to establish himself as a Top 15 NFL starter.

There's no lesson for that in the history books. 

<<<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!