CLEVELAND – After being universally maligned and mocked for their initial inactivity in free agency, the Cleveland Browns made one of its biggest splashes in signing Robert Griffin III.
Griffin III—or RGIII—for those in the know, signed a two-year $15 million deal on Thursday, effectively serving as Cleveland’s “bridge/stop-gap” quarterback of the present, with the Browns likely to take a QB to develop in the future.
Griffin III, the former No.2 pick in the 2012 NFL Draft out of Baylor and winner of the 2011 Heisman Trophy, will likely be Cleveland’s 25th different quarterback to line up under center once the 2016-17 season officially starts. The addition of RGIII will most likely spell the end of veteran signal-caller Josh McCown, who has already been linked to QB-needy teams such as the New York Jets and Denver Broncos.
With a career record of 14-21 in 37 career starts, 48 total touchdowns—40 passing and 8 running—and 23 interceptions, sat out the entire season with the Washington Redskins after being benched for Kirk Cousins. While he may not be the long-term answer to Cleveland’s seemingly never-ending search for a franchise-defining QB, RGIII may be the Browns’ low-risk, high-reward answer in the present.
As things stand, RGIII will likely start the season under center, and will more than likely be reunited with former Baylor teammate in Josh Gordon—who is currently awaiting his fate from the NFL—have a talented multi-purpose threat in Duke Johnson and a Pro Bowl tight end to throw to in Gary Barnidge.
While converted wide receiver Terrelle Pryor will likely be a work in progress, Cleveland now has options in the upcoming draft.
With the prospect of taking a highly-rated player at No.2, Cleveland is suddenly the NFL’s version of Las Vegas in terms of other teams wanting to throw their chips on the table and cash in.
If the Browns are smart—for once—and play their cards right, they can either take a quarterback early (Carson Wentz or Jared Goff), take a game-changer on defense (Myles Jack, Joey Bosa or Jalen Ramsey), trade down and accumulate an extra pick and still draft a QB (Paxton Lynch).
Obviously, RGIII will need a speedy deep threat like he had in our nation’s capital in DeSean Jackson to throw to thanks to the loss of Travis Benjamin to the San Diego Chargers, so a burner such as Corey Coleman or Sterling Shepard at No.32 makes the most sense.
The offensive line may also be an option due to losing right tackle Mitchell Schwartz to the Kansas City Chiefs, so possible second-round targets such as Texas A&M’s Germain Ifedi, Ohio State’s Taylor Decker or Texas Tech’s Le’Raven Clark.
For once, it seems like THIS Cleveland front office has a semblance of competence in bringing in a younger—and still in his prime at 26—QB such as RGIII, and while he didn’t have the greatest of success down in the DMV—that’s District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia—for all the non-Beltway folks, thanks in large part to a ego-maniac of an owner in Dan Snyder and a in-over-his-head head coach riding the coattails of his more accomplished brother Jon, in Redskins head coach Jay Gruden.
Hopefully in Cleveland—four years later after fans were screaming for the team to trade up for him—under the tutelage of Hue Jackson, RGIII will be more than just another Browns reclamation project or lost cause/sacrificial lamb at QB , but a short-term answer to a long-term dilemma.