11:06am: Speaking today to reporters, including Mike Jones of the Washington Post (Twitter link), Washington GM Scot McCloughan confirmed that the team is exercising Griffin’s 2016 option. The club made it official in a press release.
8:32am: Since his Pro Bowl rookie season, Robert Griffin III has been plagued by injuries and has struggled to make an impact when he’s been healthy. Still, Washington will likely exercise the fifth-year option for the former No. 2 overall pick, according to Albert Breer of the NFL Network (Twitter link). John Keim of ESPN.com (Twitter link) hears that Griffin has yet to be notified of the decision, but Keim’s source agrees that it appears likely to happen.
Griffin, who threw 20 touchdowns to just five interceptions and averaged a league-high 8.1 yards per passing attempt in his rookie year, has seen his production slip since then, and ceded playing time to Kirk Cousins and Colt McCoy last season. He’s expected to head into the 2015 season as the starter, but it wouldn’t be a shock to see Washington make a change if he doesn’t look good in camp or early in the season.
Because he was a top-10 pick in 2012, Griffin’s 2016 option is worth $16.155MM, the same amount that the Colts and Dolphins would have to pay Andrew Luck and Ryan Tannehill, respectively. That’s a significant investment for a player who doesn’t even have the starting quarterback job locked up, but the salary doesn’t become fully guaranteed until the first day of the 2016 league year.
Of course, that ’16 salary is guaranteed for injury if it’s exercised, and given RGIII’s injury history, there’s certainly some risk there. But as Breer points out (via Twitter), if Griffin doesn’t meet expectations this coming season, he may not even see the field for a good chunk of the year, and he wouldn’t be a real injury risk if he’s sitting on the bench.
Washington will have until May 3 to make a decision on the option.