Browns Sign Robert Griffin III

12:40pm: The Browns’ investment in RGIII is not insignificant. Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports reports (via Twitter) that the two-year pact is worth $15MM, with a signing bonus of $3.5MM and $6.75MM in total guarantees.

According to Tom Pelissero of USA Today (Twitter links), Griffin can earn up to $750K in per-game active roster bonuses, and has a $750K roster bonus due on the third day of the 2017 league year. He can also make an extra $3.5MM in annual incentives based on playing time, yards, and passer rating, so the deal could max out at $22MM.

11:45am: The Browns have officially signed Griffin, the team confirmed in a press release. According to Schefter (Twitter link), it’s a two-year contract.

11:38am: Griffin and the Browns have agreed to a deal, per Mary Kay Cabot of (via Twitter).

11:31am: The Browns are expected to reach an agreement with free agent quarterback Robert Griffin III today, according to Adam Schefter of (via Twitter). While nothing is official yet, Schefter reports that RGIII will become a Brown.

The move could have a domino effect on other quarterback situations around the NFL. Cleveland had been viewed as a potential landing spot for trade candidate Colin Kaepernick, but signing Griffin will take the Kaepernick option off the table for the Browns. As for RGIII, he had been viewed as a potential fallback plan for the Jets, so Ryan Fitzpatrick may get a little added leverage in his contract negotiations with New York now that the team’s alternatives have been reduced by one.

Still, as Schefter notes (via Twitter), the Browns’ deal with Griffin could result in another veteran signal-caller becoming available. With Cleveland still likely to select a quarterback in the draft, last year’s primary starter, Josh McCown, could land on the trade block.

Griffin, the 2012 offensive rookie of the year, hasn’t been the same since tearing his ACL in the playoffs that season. Although the former Pro Bowl quarterback completed a career-best 68.1% of his passes in 2014, he threw just four touchdown passes compared to six interceptions and fell out of favor with Jay Gruden. Subsequently, RGIII didn’t take a snap in 2015 as Kirk Cousins captured Washington’s starting job and ultimately received the franchise tag.

Griffin threw for 3,200 yards as a rookie, rushing for another 815, and totaled 27 touchdowns, including 20 through the air. In 2013, however, Griffin’s completion percentage dropped five points and Washington went 3-10 in games that the former Heisman Trophy winner started.

Injuries knocked Griffin out of the starting lineup in 2014 and ’15, the latter coming in the preseason, when Washington opted to shelve the former No. 2 overall pick and begin its exit strategy from its one-time franchise quarterback. The team released him earlier this month.

After Griffin reached free agency, he visited both the Jets and Browns, but the interest from Cleveland was always viewed as more serious — Jets GM Mike Maccagnan described RGIII’s visit to New York as a “meet-and-greet” situation.

With the Browns believed to be eyeing a quarterback like Carson Wentz or Jared Goff in the draft, the team could pair a first-round rookie with the 26-year-old Griffin this season, giving the franchise a pair of signal-callers with some youth and upside. Although Cleveland’s failure to develop quarterbacks in the past has been well-documented, there is perhaps some reason for optimism this time around, since new head coach Hue Jackson is widely considered to be a strong QBs coach.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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9 comments on “Browns Sign Robert Griffin III

  1. Rory Parks

    Not a great outcome for RGIII, perhaps, as the Browns are largely devoid of offensive talent, but a good result for Cleveland, which has the money to take a gamble on a player with his upside. The RGIII & Goff/Wentz battle in training camp should be pretty interesting to watch.

  2. Clark

    Again I will say the dumbest move the Browns could make would be picking a QB at 2 and having him compete for the starting job! Only pick a QB at 2 if there’s no doubt he will be the starter. Trade back some picks and draft a WR and get extra picks then in the second round draft Wentz Cook or Hack with the second round pick

    • Wentz is most likely not falling to the second round and sitting the QB/having him earn his job isn’t a bad idea. Aaron Rodgers sat a couple of years before starting, Blake Bortles was supposed to sit his first year and now he’s starting as a top 15 QB. Forcing a rookie QB to start when there aren’t any offensive weapons, average to poor defense and an average O-Line is the best way to turn him into a bust.

    • hill
      daren hill

      Agree 100%

      This also means joe Thomas isn’t getting traded.

  3. dwilson10

    So does this mean the Browns don’t draft a QB with their 1st round pick?

  4. Silent_Partner

    I love how Wentz has become this top 5 pick based on absolutely nothing. I said when Hue Jackson got that job, no way was he staking his career on a Division II QB who no one has ever seen or one of the spread QB wonders. If you were going to take any of those projects, you might as well take on Kaepernick who he coveted when in Oakland or Griffin who has more upside but the same problems coming from a spread option background. They either need to take Jalen Ramsey at 2 or the best available offensive lineman. If they can get a good trade partner if Rammsey is already gone to fill some more holes, even better.

  5. Silent_Partner


    They never were. the last 2 good QBs for awhile came out last year. It boggles the mind why people eat up these QB evaluations every year. No one has ever seen the ND kid, and I’ll bet a paycheck he’s not going to make it coming from that steep of a competition jump (Joe Flacco actually played at Pittsburgh before going to Deleware for everyone insisting on that flawed comparison), and Lynch and Goff are not first round picks in any other draft with actual NFL quality QB prospects in it. It’s the 2011 draft again where all of those teams have already moved on from those mediocre prospects.

  6. Sam Robinson

    The Browns’ quarterback situation, with RG3 and Goff or Wentz, indeed improves. Although Griffin at this point is a moderate-ceiling/low-floor-type player. And now he’ll be that with a team that’s had numerous key pieces depart. A good job by Griffin’s agent in getting this deal considering what’s happened to his career post-2012. Being in position to groom a QB taken No. 2 overall may not be the best way to rehabilitate his career.

  7. hill
    daren hill

    I really like this move by Cleveland. Buy low on a guy still with immense talent.

    I just hope, with the departed OL and with more and more rules favouring a passing game (no chop blocks), RGiii wont have a ground game to rely upon and he’ll press, try to do too much, and risk injury. As a fan of football I really really hope he gets it turned around. Come on, Cleveland…build a stellar OL, get Josh Gordon reinstated (??) and don’t draft the next Trent Richardson…

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