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Redskins 'no-brainer' RG3 option decision a product of QB supply and demand

Redskins 'no-brainer' RG3 option decision a product of QB supply and demand

Even though many saw some upside and some downside in the Redskins’ decision to exercise the 2016 option in the contract of quarterback Robert Griffin III, team president Bruce Allen though it was an easy call to make.

Well we think Robert is our starting quarterback,” Allen said on Monday. “We’ve seen him win. We’ve seen him win big games. We know his talent. It really was a no-brainer.”

The main concern about the option is that it becomes guaranteed should Griffin get injured and unable to play in 2016. With a medical record that includes two torn ACL’s (one in college, one at the end of his rookie year) and a dislocated ankle that caused him to miss six games last year the injury factor is a legitimate concern. But Allen looks at it as a cost of doing business.

There’s a cost to everyone who gets hurt,” he said. “I don’t see that as an individual player thing. Any injury is going to cost you on the salary cap.”

Of perhaps greater concern than the injury problems is the fact that a healthy Griffin was benched in favor of Colt McCoy in late November. His inconsistent performance since his stellar rookie 2012 season casts doubt on whether or not Griffin will be worth the $16.6 million salary that comes with the option.

But the thing is that paying large salaries to quarterbacks with spotty records is the way the NFL does business. The Panthers have gone 30-31-1 in Cam Newton’s 62 regular season starts and 1-2 in the playoffs. The former No. 1 overall pick has completed less than 60 percent of his passes and has a pedestrian QB rating of 85.4. Despite that, Newton and the Panthers are close to agreeing on a contract extension that would keep the quarterback in Carolina through 2020 and pay him something north of $20 million per year.

It should be noted that Newton has generally improved his performance from year to year and he has rushed for 2,571 yards in his career (643 yards/season). He has a chance to be very good. But the $20 million per year mark used to be reserved for quarterbacks who have hoisted the Lombardi Trophy. Now it looks like Newton will join Ryan Tannehill of the Dolphins as .500 quarterbacks with deals that pay nearly $20 million per year (Tannehill’s recently signed extension pays him $19.25 million per year).

Perhaps one year at $16.6 million for Griffin isn’t a bargain compared to the deals signed by Newton and Tannehill but if he shows even modest improvement it would not be an outrageous salary for the team to pay.

It’s a matter of supply and demand. Top-notch quarterbacks are in very short supply and it’s tough to even find one who can be consistently competent. When the demand exceeds the supply, costs go up.

The owners and GM’s who are handing out these deals will, like Allen, say it’s the cost of doing business. But there may be as much fear as business acumen involved in these deals, as Kevin Clark, NFL writer for the Wall Street Journal tweeted after Newton’s contract numbers came out.

The Redskins may not be very happy with Griffin’s play over the last couple of years. But one of the few things worse than putting up with inconsistent quarterback play is trying to find and develop a new one. They have a lot invested in Griffin, both in terms of the draft picks it took to get him and the time they have taken to try to turn him into a dependable NFL quarterback. Despite his struggles it looks like they think it is too early to start looking again. There is some legitimate fear of going down that path again.

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Redskins RB Thompson still nervous for impending cut down day

Redskins RB Thompson still nervous for impending cut down day

You would think that after spending two years as the team’s third-down back, playing more snaps than any other running back last season, and getting a second-round restricted free agent tender that will pay him $2.7 million this year, Chris Thompson might feel comfortable as the Redskins start up the final phase of their preseason program.

But Thompson says that he is as nervous about making the team as he was when he was a fifth-round in 2013.

“Even after the last preseason game when you guys talk to me I’m going to still be nervous when that time comes around because I never forget that feeling,” he told reporters on Monday prior to the Redskins charity golf tournament at Army-Navy Country Club.

“For me, I’ve just got to come out here and work every day to try to secure my job.”

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

The approach has worked for him in the past. He struggled with injuries his first two years in the league, playing a total of just six games. In 2015 he found his niche as the third-down back and he hasn’t given it up.

In fact, he may get more opportunities on first and second downs.

“I have a feeling that I might get a little more this year,” he said. “He [coach Jay Gruden] knows that I’m healthy and I can stay healthy. I think that was one of his biggest concerns, that I can handle the load. I think I’ll get a lot more opportunities.”

Rob Kelley is expected to be the starter and fourth-round pick Samaje Perine should get a significant number of carries. If Gruden plans on Thompson getting more work on the ground, that likely means that the Redskins anticipate running the ball more ofent than they did in 2016, when they were 27th in the NFL with 379 rushing attempts.

Health is key for Thompson. He not only played in all 16 games for the first time in his career last year, he came out of the season in good health. Not having the need to rehab is allowing Thompson to work on refining his game.

“[Being healthy] helps me to get away and focus on the little things that I need to work on,” he said. “Having a full offseason, being able to get away, I’ve been able to focus on those things. Just like my quickness, my route running. I know my route running is big for me to make it in this league so I work on that. . . that was my main goal.”

Thompson’s work ethic and his mindset where he takes nothing for granted have served him well. He will be an unrestricted free agent in 2018 and if he continues to produce he will be setting himself up for a nice payday. 

RELATED: OFFSEASON NFL POWER RANKINGS

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RB Matt Jones reportedly not part of Redskins' 2017 plans

RB Matt Jones reportedly not part of Redskins' 2017 plans

Matt Jones entered the 2016 season as the Redskins undisputed starter at running back.

That lasted seven games.

By Week 8, Jones landed on the inactive list, and he never took another snap all year.

With OTAs beginning for the 2017 season, it looks like Jones might not play with the team. 

NFL POWER RANKINGS: WHO GOT BETTER AFTER THE DRAFT?

In April at the NFL Draft, reports surfaced that Washington was trying to trade Jones.

Weeks before that, at the NFL Owner's Meetings in Arizona, Redskins head coach Jay Gruden had to be reminded that Jones was still on the roster as the coach talked about the running back situation for this fall.

Robert Kelley surpassed Jones as the top running back on the team last season with Chris Thompson secure in his third down back role. 

Mack Brown even moved past Jones on the depth chart. When the Redskins drafted Samaje Perine in the fourth round, that signaled even bigger trouble for Jones' roster situation.

The Redskins will likely only keep four running backs this fall, and with Kelley, Perine, Thompson and Brown, it sure seems like Jones is the odd man out.

It's remarkable considering Jones has size, speed and an NFL resume that has three 100-yard games on it in just 20 games. The Redskins spent a third-round pick on Jones in 2015, and he largely ousted fan favorite Alfred Morris from the RB1 role as a rookie. 

Life comes at you quick in the NFL.

Jones is a clear example of that. 

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