Robert Griffin III

Ravens To Keep Robert Griffin III

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The Ravens will keep quarterback Robert Griffin III on their initial 53-man roster, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (Twitter link).

Baltimore had reportedly been torn on keeping RG3, but he’ll now stick on the roster alongside starter Joe Flacco and first-round rookie Lamar Jackson. Griffin played well enough during the preseason that he forced the Ravens’ hand.

He has played at a starting-caliber level in the games that he’s played, and he’s an experienced guy,” Harbaugh said, via Hensley. “I’d rather have him than not have him, for sure, but there are other factors that go into that and we’ll have to figure all that out. [GM] Ozzie [Newsome] ultimately will have to make that decision.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Ravens Torn On Keeping Robert Griffin III

The Ravens’ roster hasn’t featured a three-quarterback setup since the 2009 season, but circumstances this year may induce a change to their usual approach.

John Harbaugh said Thursday, via Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com, that Robert Griffin III‘s roster spot will go down to the wire. Despite being out of football last season, Griffin has outplayed Lamar Jackson during the preseason to this point but hasn’t gotten nearly as many game reps as the rookie.

He has played at a starting-caliber level in the games that he’s played, and he’s an experienced guy,” Harbaugh said, via Hensley. “I’d rather have him than not have him, for sure, but there are other factors that go into that and we’ll have to figure all that out. [GM] Ozzie [Newsome] ultimately will have to make that decision.”

RG3’s $1MM salary becomes guaranteed if he’s on the Ravens’ Week 1 roster. It’s possible Baltimore would release the 28-year-old quarterback only to bring him back after Week 1, but given the depth issues many teams have at sports’ marquee job, another team could swoop in with a better offer. Griffin could also serve as a trade chip, but Jackson’s struggled during most of the preseason. The 2016 Heisman Trophy winner’s completed just 42 percent of his passes. The 2011 Heisman recipient, Griffin’s only attempted 26 passes but has outplayed the younger prospect.

Joe Flacco‘s missed just 10 games in his 10-season career, and each came in 2015 after he tore an ACL. The Ravens are pleased by the strides Jackson’s made, per Jeff Zreibec of The Athletic (subscription required), who adds that Griffin’s roster spot will come down to how Jackson performs during the preseason’s remainder.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Notes: Dolphins, RG3, Ravens, Browns

The Dolphins made a number of moves this offseason, and Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald writes that the team was focused on improving the locker-room culture. The front office deliberately pursued team-first players who would “buy in, be diligent about studying and preparation, and do things the way the staff wanted.”

While the organization may have been focused on shifting the culture, quarterback Ryan Tannehill didn’t believe there was a culture issue in the first place.

“I don’t think we had a bad culture,” he said. “I think the guys that we brought in have already bought in and now we’re fully aligned and we can just drive forward. I think that’s a big factor in the performance of teams is everyone being on the same page.”

On the flip side, Jackson writes that safety Reshad Jones did admit that he’s already seen improvements to the team’s mindset.

Let’s take a look at some more notes from around the AFC…

  • Jackson notes that Dolphins undrafted rookie cornerback Jalen Davis received a $20K signing bonus on top of his $25K in guaranteed money. The writer wonders if the defensive back could end up sticking around, especially since he earned the most money among the team’s undrafted free agents. Linebacker Mike McCray received $12K in guaranteed money and and a $1oK signing bonus.
  • The Ravens added quarterback Robert Griffin III earlier this offseason, and they subsequently drafted signal-caller Lamar Jackson. While the rookie will surely provide the 28-year-old with some competition for backup reps, Griffin told Mike Jones of USA Today that the draft selection wasn’t a slight at himself or Joe Flacco. “When they drafted Lamar, I didn’t look at it as a shot at me or a shot at Joe,” Griffin said. “It was ‘OK, Lamar is coming in here, and it’s our job to help him learn the offense and help him compete.’ So, for me, my job is to show them that I’m an asset to the team and not a detriment. … One (reporter) asked me if I was trying to showcase for other teams. No, my focus is, ‘I’m a Baltimore Raven. I’m showcasing to them that this is where I’m supposed to be.’ ”
  • The Browns made several personnel changes today. ESPN Cleveland’s Tony Grossi writes that personnel executives Chisom Opara and Bobby Vega (as well as area scout Patrick Moore) have left the organization. Grossi also notes that general manager John Dorsey could end up pursuing former NFL linebacker and current radio host Matt Wilhelm for a front-office gig.
  • We heard earlier today that the Patriots and tight end Rob Gronkowski were zeroing in on a new contract.

Contract Details: Landry, Wallace, RG3

Here’s the latest from some the recently agreed-upon contracts around the NFL.

  • Jarvis Landry‘s five-year, $75.5MM Browns contract will come with $34MM fully guaranteed, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports (video link). This figure, which is a tad less than Landry likely would have earned if he was franchise-tagged twice, places Landry fifth among wideouts. The $47MM in total guarantees are third all-time, behind only DeAndre Hopkins and Mike Evans.
  • Another wideout has a somewhat bizarre clause in his Eagles deal. The defending Super Bowl champions will pay Mike Wallace an additional $585K if he weighs less than 250 pounds when they open their offseason program on Monday, Field Yates of ESPN.com reports (on Twitter). Wallace signed a one-year deal with a base value of $1.9MM, so Monday — barring an alarming discovery — will presumably be a nice bonus for the veteran deep threat.
  • The only guaranteed money in Robert Griffin III‘s one-year, $1.1MM deal with the Ravens is a $100K signing bonus, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets.

Jaguars Worked Out RG3

The Ravens signed Robert Griffin III to a one-year deal this week, but not before he drew interest elsewhere. The Jaguars auditioned the quarterback on Monday, according to Mike Florio of PFT

The Jaguars did not offer Griffin a contract, according to Ryan O’Halloran of the Times-Union (on Twitter). But, the Jaguars’ level of interest in Griffin was enough to push the Ravens to get a deal done with him now, rather than after the draft.

All in all, it’s a low-risk proposition for Baltimore as they gave RG3 a one-year deal worth $1MM with a modest signing bonus. If Griffin flops, the Ravens can cut bait with little fiscal penalty. If he looks solid in camp, the Ravens can move forward with him as their No. 2 QB behind Joe Flacco, replacing free agent Ryan Mallett.

In his younger days with the Redskins, Griffin was among the most dynamic talents in the NFL. Since then, health issues have held him back. He later found his way to the Browns, but injuries limited him to just five games in an uninspiring 2016 campaign. Last year, Griffin was out of the game altogether. Few expect Griffin to recapture the glory of his 2012 season, but he could be a value signing if he play up to a league average backup.

The Jaguars, meanwhile, have just two QBs on the roster in Blake Bortles and the newly-acquired Cody Kessler. It’s likely that Jacksonville will explore signal callers in this month’s draft and also continue to scour the free agent market for veteran options to fill out the QB depth chart.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Ravens Sign QB Robert Griffin III

The Ravens have signed quarterback Robert Griffin III to a one-year deal, the club announced today. It’s a $1MM deal with a small signing bonus, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.

Baltimore has reportedly had interest in Griffin for some time, as the team nearly signed the former No. 2 overall pick last season. Griffin also turned down an offer from the Cardinals, and eventually sat out the entirety of the 2017 campaign. The Ravens recently brought in Griffin for a workout, per Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com, and a subsequent visit led to a deal that was hammered out on Tuesday night.

RG3, of course, was at one time among the most dynamic talents in the NFL. As a Redskins rookie in 2012, Griffin posted 3,200 passing yards and 20 touchdowns against just five interceptions, and added another 815 yards and seven scores on the ground. That performance helped Washington to a postseason berth and led to Griffin being named Offensive Rookie of the Year.

Injuries and ineffectiveness took a toll on Griffin over the next two seasons, however, and the Redskins ultimately benched him in favor of Kirk Cousins. Washington declined to allow Griffin to see the field at all in 2015, as a serious injury would have triggered an expensive guarantee on his fifth-year option. A two-year, $15MM deal brought RG3 to the Browns in 2016, but health issues limited him once again, and he appeared in just five games before being released last spring.

Griffin is now slotted in as the Ravens’ backup quarterback behind starter Joe Flacco, and his addition almost surely means Baltimore will not re-sign former No. 2 signal-caller Ryan Mallett. Flacco has been extremely durable during his decade-long career, so there’s no guarantee that Griffin will see any action during the regular season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

RG3 Turned Down Cardinals, Ravens Offers

Apparently, Robert Griffin III turned down two separate NFL offers in 2017. In an appearance on ESPN’s SportsCenter, Griffin said that he rejected chances to join both the Cardinals and Ravens in the offseason. Robert Griffin III (Vertical)

In Arizona, the reason it wasn’t a good fit because they had already — Carson [Palmer] was there, I was willing to come in and learn behind an experienced veteran quarterback who’s done a lot of great things,” Griffin said (transcript via CBSSports.com). “They had the backup in [Drew] Stanton, they had also brought in Blaine Gabbert. Nobody lets four quarterbacks get practice time. That was the issue. It wasn’t the coach — [Bruce Arians] is a great coach, he’s a quarterback whisperer. And it’s a stable franchise.”

Griffin also explained why he passed on an opportunity to join the Ravens.

Baltimore was just, they offered me a contract right before the first preseason game, to start against the Redskins,” RG3 said. “Selfishly I could have taken that, to go play against them, but I knew I wouldn’t have been ready with that offense, with those guys, to put my best foot forward.”

In each instance, Griffin said that he knew the risk – if he turned down the offer, he might not get another. Surprisingly, Griffin says that he hasn’t given up on the possibility that a playoff team could sign him this year. That seems pretty unlikely to us, however, particularly since the Eagles have shown no interest in signing a Carson Wentz replacement.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

RG3 Claims He Nearly Signed With Ravens

Robert Griffin III wasn’t able to land an NFL contract this year, but he says he was close. In an appearance on ESPN, RG3 said that he almost wound up playing for the Ravens (Twitter link via ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter). The quarterback added that he has had “interesting offers” from other teams as well. Robert Griffin III (vertical)

It’s not clear exactly how close the Ravens were to signing Griffin, despite his claims. In July, it was reported that the Ravens considered bringing Griffin in for a workout, but those plans were said to be 86’d. At that stage of the offseason, there was some uncertainty about Joe Flacco’s health. Fortunately for Baltimore, Flacco has started all 13 games so far and Ryan Mallett – who was shaky in training camp – has remained on the bench.

Given the lack of overall interest in Griffin this past year, we’re not expecting a booming market for his services in 2018. However, a few teams will probably be willing to kick the tires on him if he can demonstrate that he is healthy.

If the NFL market lags, he could always consider a CFL stint. North of the border, his rights are owned by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Luck, Colts, Manziel, Kaepernick, RG3

In speaking with reporters on Thursday night, Colts owner Jim Irsay indicated that Andrew Luck is unlikely to suit up for Week 1, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com notes (Twitter link). Interestingly, Irsay also insinuated that the matter is now more in Luck’s head rather than his shoulder.

Whether it’s mental or not, it sounds like the Colts will be without their No. 1 QB when they face the Rams on Sept. 10. Meanwhile, the Rams could be without their best defensive player.

Here’s more from around the NFL:

  • Johnny Manziel‘s recent audition for the Canadian Football League’s Hamilton Tiger-Cats went well enough for the team to maintain interest in the troubled quarterback. Manziel and the Tiger-Cats continue to discuss a contract, according to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com. Manziel “very much wants” to sign with the Tiger-Cats or another Canadian club, as he regards the CFL as a good avenue to return to competitive football, a source suggested to Fowler. Hamilton owns Manziel’s CFL rights, and if he decides to immigrate to that league, the Tiger-Cats would have a 10-day window to sign the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner or trade him. The 24-year-old Manziel last played in a game on Dec. 27, 2015, when he was with the Browns.
  • Speaking of high-profile, out-of-work signal-callers, NFL teams are not blackballing Colin Kaepernick over his political activism, anonymous executives and a coach who spoke with Albert Breer of The MMQB insist. The general belief among the group is that both Kaepernick and Robert Griffin III would have jobs if teams believed they could truly help. There are worse QBs (particularly backups) around the league than those two, but clubs are more comfortable with how their current reserves fit their offenses than either Kaepernick or RG3 would.
  • It would have been “negligent” for Pittsburgh to not look into signing cornerback Joe Haden after the Browns released him Wednesday, Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert told reporters, including Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The Steelers added Haden shortly after the Browns parted with the eighth-year man. While Haden’s effectiveness has faded in recent seasons, the Steelers regard him as a “capable starter” and the type of player who’s not typically available in late August, per Colbert.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

AFC East Notes: Dolphins, Cutler, Jets, Bills

If Jay Cutler didn’t return to the NFL in order to sign with the Dolphins, Miami would have considered Robert Griffin III and Christian Ponder, reports Peter King of TheMMQB.com. Of course, RG3 and Ponder were far from the only options on the table for the Dolphins, as Colin Kaepernick, Tim Tebow, Kyle Orton, Brock Osweiler, Blaine Gabbert, and Teddy Bridgewater were all at least discussed internally. Griffin has been linked to the Seahawks, Chargers, and Ravens this offseason, while Seattle was also interested in Ponder at one point. At least one league executive believes the Dolphins had better options available under center, tweets Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald.

Here’s more from Miami and the rest of the AFC East:

  • Cutler will essentially earn $10MM in guaranteed money under the terms of his Dolphins contract, according to Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com (Twitter links). As previously reported, Cutler will take home a $5MM base salary and a $5MM roster bonus, but that bonus is due this August 9 (this Wednesday). Additionally, Cutler can earn another $3MM in incentives: $1MM if he plays 75% of Miami’s offensive snaps and the club is in the top-10 in touchdowns; $1MM if he plays 75% of snaps and the Dolphins earn a postseason berth; and another $1MM if he plays 75% of snaps and Miami wins a playoff game.
  • “No concerns” were raised about Cutler’s shoulder in his pre-signing physical, per Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (Twitter link). For what it’s worth, Cutler says he was cleared in March. Meanwhile, Dolphins head coach Adam Gase says the Dolphins have a “plan” for how they’ll manage Cutler’s preseason repetitions. “We’re going to have to be smart with that because I’m sure (Cutler) wasn’t out in the backyard throwing 100 balls a day,” Gase said, per Pelissero (Twitter link).
  • While the Jets won the rights to wide receiver Bruce Ellington last week, the Bills, Texans, and Chiefs all put in waiver claims for the former 49ers draft choice, tweets Kimberley A. Martin of Newsday. Ellington, of course, didn’t last long in New York, as the Jets waived him with an injury designation just one day after acquiring him. That means any of the other clubs that attempted claims on Ellington should have an another opportunity to acquire him, either through the waiver process or after New York potentially cuts Ellington from injured reserve.
  • Free agent running back Stephen Houston worked out for the Jets last week, according to Brian Costello of the New York Post (Twitter link). Houston, originally an undrafted free agent out of Indiana, has never played in a NFL game despite bouncing between several rosters since entering the league in 2014. Most recently, Houston spent time on Baltimore’s practice squad, but was waived by the Ravens in May. The Jets, who already boast Matt Forte, Bilal Powell, Brandon Wilds, and others at running back, also auditioned Shaquille Cooper last week.