For a week or two now, the Cleveland Browns and Robert Griffin III have been in contract talks. The two sides finally agreed on a deal early on Thursday. The Browns are giving him a loaded two-year contract worth $15m with $6.75M guaranteed.
While I do think the money they’re paying for him is a bit absurd, considering he didn’t even appear in a game last season and has a 5-15 record in his last 20 starts; I do like the signing for the Browns as they make a big move during a quiet free agency period for them.
Even with this signing, I still fully expect to go QB with the 2nd pick, more than likely Carson Wentz. However, bringing RGIII aboard provides more stability at the position. Griffin will more than likely be the week 1 starter. I’m all for rookie QBs coming in and sitting on the bench for a little bit before stepping onto the field – this gives them time to adapt to the game and see where and how it’s different from college instead of just stepping out there from day one and never looking back.
With the state of the Browns franchise, I’d feel sorry for Wentz if he was forced to go out there right away and start under center. They just lost two starters on the offensive line (Mack, Schwartz), and Joe Thomas isn’t getting any younger. They also lost their deep threat in Travis Benjamin. Cleveland does, however, have an emerging running game, but what is that without an offensive line? Unless Cleveland adds another playmaker and upgrades the offensive line after the assumption that they’ll draft Wentz – I wouldn’t want to see him on the field early in the season.
Bringing in RGIII won’t bring along the media circus like it has in Washington in year’s past. Of course, there will still be some exposure there, but not nearly as much as in the past. Hue Jackson seems to really be on board with Griffin, and as long as you have the support of the head coach, what else do you need? It seems as if Jackson’s plans include Griffin as the week 1 starter, which is very intriguing. He would become the 26th starting QB for Cleveland since 1999.
Competition brings out the best in people, especially in the NFL at the QB position. Assuming they select Wentz at #2, a full-fledged QB position battle will go on with RGIII. Griffin brings tremendous upside, he’s worth the risk as he very well could return to his 2012 form when he was named Rookie of the Year. He’s now healthier than he’ll ever be – he just needs to keep it that way. If Griffin is able to be productive and prove he can be healthy, the Browns have themselves some tempting trade bait for QB-needy teams – a position that will always be in high demand.
The Browns don’t view RGIII as a savior of the franchise or anything like that, but he is a solid stop-gap and brings great upside to the position and adds competition. While the money is a little too much for my liking, there are a lot of positives that he brings to Cleveland.