Robert Griffin III

Ravens Waive QB Robert Griffin III

The Ravens have officially waived quarterback Robert Griffin III. The team will also cut defensive backs Davontae Harris and Tramon Williams, plus wide receiver De’Anthony Harris

[RELATED: Ravens Cut Ingram]

The Ravens got a jump start on their spring cleaning this week by releasing Griffin & Co, plus running back Mark Ingram. It all amounts to a professional courtesy, since the Ravens were eliminated by the Bills on Saturday.

Griffin first joined the Ravens as a backup for Joe Flacco and stuck around to be Lamar Jackson‘s primary backstop. In three years, RG3 started twice and threw one touchdown against four interceptions. One of those starts came this year, a 19-14 loss to the rival Steelers.

The former No. 2 overall pick tweeted that “the best is yet to come,” an indication that he’ll seek another job in 2021. Griffin, who won the Heisman Trophy in 2011, turns 31 in February.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Ravens Place Robert Griffin III On IR

The hamstring injury Robert Griffin III suffered Wednesday in Pittsburgh will result in a prolonged absence. This could complicate matters for the Ravens.

While RG3 going on IR would not normally affect Baltimore’s starting lineup, it is not yet known if Lamar Jackson will be ready to return when first eligible to come off the Ravens’ reserve/COVID-19 list. Jackson tested positive for the coronavirus on Nov. 26 and cannot return to practice until Sunday. The Ravens will host the Cowboys on Tuesday night.

Baltimore used third-stringer Trace McSorley — who was recently activated from the COVID list — at the end of Wednesday’s loss to the Steelers. He would be in line to start for the Ravens against the Cowboys, should Jackson require more recovery time.

RG3 struggled against the Steelers but brings extensive NFL experience McSorley obviously lacks. An eighth-year NFL vet, Griffin has been Jackson’s backup for three years. Griffin cannot resume his QB2 duties until at least Week 16.

While the Ravens will be without Griffin for a while, they did receive word Friday they will have more depth available against Dallas. Baltimore activated J.K. Dobbins, Matt Skura, Patrick Mekari and Pernell McPhee from the virus list.

The Ravens held Dobbins and Mark Ingram out of their thrice-rescheduled game in Pittsburgh. Both backs tested positive for COVID-19 but would have been eligible to return for Week 12. Dobbins being back in action will be a boon to a Ravens team suddenly on thin ice with regards to playoff qualification.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

North Notes: Bevell, Lewis, Ravens, Browns

The first Lions interim head coach in 15 years, Darrell Bevell will have five games to run the team. While it should be expected the Lions go in a different direction when they make a full-time hire in 2021, Bevell said team president Rod Wood informed him he is not out of the picture for the permanent gig, per Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press (on Twitter). Although Bevell was a Matt Patricia hire, the former Seahawks offensive coordinator did not join the Lions until Patricia’s second season. Prior to Bevell spending seven seasons as Seattle’s OC, he oversaw the Vikings’ Brett Favre offenses and held that job for five seasons. His latest offense ranks 20th, though it has been without Kenny Golladay for a big chunk of the season.

Here is the latest from the North divisions:

  • Mike Zimmer replaced defensive coordinator George Edwards by dividing the DC duties between his son (Adam Zimmer) and Andre Patterson. But the Vikings HC wanted a more experienced hand in the room, even before Edwards’ exit. Prior to Edwards’ 2020 departure, Mike Zimmer wanted to hire his former boss — ex-Bengals HC Marvin Lewis — as a defensive assistant, Dan Pompei of The Athletic notes (subscription required). This interest came in 2019, and Zimmer sought Lewis for a part-time role, Pompei adds. Lewis ended up on Herm Edwards‘ Arizona State staff, in an advisory role, last year and is now the Sun Devils’ co-defensive coordinator.
  • Robert Griffin III indeed suffered a hamstring pull in the Ravens‘ Wednesday loss to the Steelers, per Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic. He is not expected to practice when Baltimore reconvenes for workouts. The earliest Lamar Jackson could practice would be Sunday, which would give the Ravens starter one full practice and a Monday walkthrough in advance of a Tuesday return against the Cowboys. It is not known if Jackson will be ready by then, but he will be eligible to return after testing positive for the coronavirus on Nov. 26.
  • The Browns will not have one of their starters for a while. They placed Ronnie Harrison on IR this week, and Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com notes the third-year safety’s shoulder injury is expected to keep him out between four and six weeks. This is a big setback for the Browns; Pro Football Focus slots Harrison as its 12th-highest-graded safety this season. Cleveland’s secondary is already down Denzel Ward, who is rehabbing a calf strain.
  • Joe Burrow underwent surgery on his injured knee Wednesday, the Bengals announced in a brief statement. The No. 1 overall pick suffered ACL and MCL tears as well as other structural damage. He is not expected to be ready to return until around the start of next season.
  • Seeking kicker insurance in the COVID-19 era, the Packers worked out Roberto Aguayo, Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com notes. The Packers, who have used Mason Crosby as their kicker since 2007, do not have a kicker on their practice squad currently. Aguayo has not caught on with a team since the Chargers cut him in 2018; the former second-round pick has not kicked in a game since his 2016 rookie season.

Ravens’ RG3 Drawing Trade Interest

Ravens quarterback Robert Griffin III is drawing trade interest from other teams, according to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (on Twitter). Griffin is due $2MM in 2020, though that sum is completely non-guaranteed.

Griffin, 30, currently serves as the backup to superstar QB Lamar Jackson. It’s surprising to hear that the Ravens would entertain trades for him, though it’s possible that they would like to add to their draft stockpile while replacing him with another QB2. If the Ravens move on from Griffin and do not sign or draft another signal caller, they’d be left with Penn State product Trace McSorley as Jackson’s backstop.

Last year, Griffin was called upon to start in the season finale against the Jets. The Ravens won that game 28-10, though Griffin completed just over half of his pass attempts.

This isn’t the first time that Griffin has drawn trade interest during his Ravens tenure. In April of last year, the Jaguars reportedly expressed interest in the longtime Redskins star before inking Nick Foles to a massive free agent deal.

Griffin won the Heisman Trophy at Baylor and looked the part of a future NFL megastar in his rookie season with the Redskins. Health issues sidetracked him afterwards. No one expects Griffin to reprise his 2012 campaign, but he still holds lots of value for NFL teams.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC North Notes: OBJ, RG3, Steelers

Developments over the past few days point to another complicated Odell Beckham Jr. offseason, but the Pro Bowler’s top Browns confidant does not believe he’s angling for a Cleveland departure. Multiple reports linked Beckham to being dissatisfied with his fit in the Browns’ offense, but Jarvis Landry said (video link via cleveland.com’s Mary Kay Cabot) Thursday his longtime friend is not seeking to leave the team next year. Landry has outperformed Beckham this season, despite the latter being regarded as one of the game’s premier receivers and costing far more in a trade than the ex-Dolphin did. Beckham and Baker Mayfield have yet to form a reliable connection. It appears the Browns and their highest-profile player have a long way to go to ensure they are on the same page.

Heading into the Ravens’ opportunity to clinch their sixth AFC North title, is the latest from the AFC North:

  • Should the 11-2 Ravens win their next two games, they can lock up home-field advantage for the first time in franchise history. If that happens, do not expect Lamar Jackson to play in Week 17. If they can beat the Jets and Browns, the Ravens are expected to start Robert Griffin III in Week 17 against the Steelers, Mike Garafolo of NFL.com notes (Twitter link). This would certainly stand to aid the Steelers’ playoff hopes. RG3 has not started a game since 2016.
  • Speaking of the Steelers, they may not be able to afford Bud Dupree in free agency. Pittsburgh is unlikely to agree to terms on a long-term deal that would keep the improving outside linebacker off the market, Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writes. The Steelers could tag Dupree for nearly $16MM but do not have much cap space to make that work. (Though, they managed to work around similar constraints in tagging Le’Veon Bell twice.) The 2015 first-round pick has recorded a career-high (by far) 9.5 sacks this season.
  • The Steelers will attempt to keep nose tackle Javon Hargrave off the market, Dulac adds. Though, the fourth-year defensive lineman is expected to hit the market. Pittsburgh is projected to possess barely $5MM in cap space in 2020. The franchise’s propensity for restructuring deals notwithstanding, the team will face a difficult task extending Hargrave and Dupree before free agency opens.
  • Jonah Williams may not play in a game for the Bengals this year, but the first-round tackle will get in some practice work to close out a lost rookie season.

AFC Notes: Caserio, Patriots, Green, Bengals, Griffin, Ravens

Patriots exec Nick Caserio addressed the media today for the first time since the Texans’ ill-fated attempt to make him their general manager. Caserio dodged most of the questions, but while he outwardly expressed commitment to the Patriots, the press “session did nothing to kill the belief that Caserio isn’t happy with the way things played out,” writes Tom Curran of NBC Sports. “I love being here, and right now we’re focused on trying to get the team ready for this season. I’m happy to be here and I love what I do on a day-to-day basis,” Caserio said when asked if he was disappointed with the way things played out.

If he really is unhappy, fortunately he won’t have to wait too long. Caserio’s contract with the Patriots expires after the 2020 draft, and the Texans are widely expected to make another run at him then. Asked whether he wants to run a team some day, he did his best Bill Belichick impression. “I’m not really focused on the hypotheticals. I’m focused on today. Honestly, I’m focused on trying to be the best version of myself each and every day,” he said. It sounds like the Caserio/Patriots partnership is just waiting to end.

Here’s more from around the AFC on a busy Saturday:

  • There was a lot of panic earlier today when A.J. Green went down with a lower leg injury and had to be carted off at Bengals practice. Fortunately, it doesn’t appear it’s as bad as it could’ve been. The injury is believed to be an ankle sprain, sources told Albert Breer of SI.com, “but Green will have an MRI to make sure it isn’t something more serious.” The Bengals have already had bad injury luck this offseason, with projected starting left tackle Jonah Williams getting knocked out for the year, and this the last thing they needed. Green was hampered by injuries last year, and limited to nine games due to recurrent toe problems. If the Bengals are going to have any success under first-year coach Zac Taylor, they need Green at 100 percent.
  • Green wasn’t the only notable AFC North player to go down on Saturday. Ravens backup quarterback Robert Griffin III “has a small fracture in his thumb,” sources told Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic (Twitter link). He’ll be sidelined for a while, but the team is “still optimistic he’ll be ready for Week One.” Griffin injured his thumb when it banged against a defender’s helmet toward the end of Baltimore’s practice, Zrebiec explained in a separate tweet. Starter Lamar Jackson and rookie Trace McSorley are now the only two healthy quarterbacks on the roster, so the Ravens will likely be adding another passer in the next day or two.
  • In case you missed it, the Steelers are discussing an extension with cornerback Joe Haden.

Jaguars Tried To Acquire Robert Griffin III?

While the Jaguars doled out by far the biggest contract to a free agent quarterback this offseason, their pre-Nick Foles plans look to have featured Robert Griffin III.

At multiple junctures last season, Jacksonville attempted to acquire the former offensive rookie of the year from Baltimore. The Jags attempted to trade for Griffin at the end of the 2018 preseason and made another bid to land the Ravens reserve at the trade deadline, Griffin said during an appearance on the Ravens’ The Lounge podcast (via ESPN.com’s Jamison Hensley).

Leading up to free agency, the Jaguars were heavily linked to Foles. But Griffin still waited until that deal was done to sign his two-year, $4MM Ravens contract.

We knew that was an opportunity and there’d be a chance if things didn’t work out with Nick Foles,” Griffin said. “We just wanted to wait and see what would happen.”

Additionally, the 29-year-old passer said this offseason he discussed a deal with the Dolphins, who were in on multiple other free agent passers who spent all or most of 2018 as backups. Tyrod Taylor and Teddy Bridgewater ended up accepting offers to continue has backups, Taylor with the Chargers and Bridgewater with the Saints. Miami pivoted to Ryan Fitzpatrick. Griffin will return to be Lamar Jackson‘s backup after sitting behind both Jackson and Joe Flacco for most of last season.

I ultimately felt like those situations weren’t good,” said Griffin, who noted he discussed deals with other teams as well, of possible fits with other teams. “I’m not looking to go somewhere and be a bridge or be there for a season and go somewhere else. I’m looking for stability and opportunity. For me right now, Baltimore is the best situation.”

The Jaguars indeed possessed one of the league’s worst quarterback situations last season, benching Blake Bortles for Cody Kessler and then giving Bortles the reins back during a 5-11 season. They since cut the disappointing former top-five pick. Both Flacco and Jackson were healthy for the Ravens at the deadline, with Flacco’s hip injury not sidelining him until November, yet the eventual AFC North champions kept Griffin.

The former Heisman Trophy winner has not started a game since doing so for the 2016 Browns. He did not play in 2017. After being a cut or trade candidate during the preseason, Griffin made the Ravens’ 53-man roster last year and threw six passes.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Contract Details: RG3, Glennon, McCarron

Some assorted contract notes from around the NFL…

Ravens To Re-Sign RG3

The Ravens are re-signing quarterback Robert Griffin III to a two-year deal, according to a source who spoke with Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). RG3 is now in line to back up Lamar Jackson and serve as his mentor for at least one more season. 

Griffin, 29, attempted a grand total of six passes last year and has not seen seen significant action since the 2016 season with the Browns. In that year, Griffin started five games and was the first-unit passer in the club’s only win. RG3 was benched throughout 2015 in order to protect the Redskins against the potential vesting of his fifth-year option and was out of football in 2017 – in total, he’s thrown just five touchdown passes since the end of the 2013 season.

It seems like ages ago when Griffin was a rising star as an NFL rookie with the Redskins. We may never see RG3 return to that form, but he could be one snap away from seeing live action in 2019.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC North Notes: Brown, Steelers, Ravens, Tyrod Taylor, Bengals, Dalton, Browns

As we await a resolution to the ongoing Antonio Brown saga with the Steelers, we have a new interesting piece today. Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com conducted interviews with “nearly 20 former or current teammates of Brown”, to help figure out what went wrong between Brown and the team. While most that Fowler spoke with seem to acknowledge he’s unlikely to return to Pittsburgh, many spoke up in favor of Brown and said he’s being cast in an unfair light by the media.

Fowler writes that Brown “was — and in many ways still is — beloved in the Steelers’ locker room”, and that the situation is more complex and nuanced than it may appear. Many of Brown’s teammates have publicly lobbied for him to stay, and if the recent rumor is true that the Steelers aren’t getting the kind of trade offers they were hoping for, perhaps they do find a way to make it work after all. For what it’s worth, Steelers owner Art Rooney did adopt a slightly more conciliatory tone in his most recent statements to the press.

Here’s more from the AFC North:

  • Last week a reporter mentioned Tyrod Taylor as a possible target of the Ravens to be Lamar Jackson‘s backup next season, and Baltimore coach John Harbaugh added some fuel to that fire. Harbaugh said today that he’d like to add two quarterbacks behind Jackson this offseason, ideally with a similar playing style, and the recently extended coach brought up Robert Griffin III and Taylor on his own, according to Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic (Twitter link). Griffin served as the number three this past year, and said recently he loved his time in Baltimore, so it seems likely he’ll be re-signed.
  • The Bengals are riding with Andy Dalton, for now. Cincinnati’s director of player personnel Duke Tobin spoke recently to reporters and while he expressed some confidence in Dalton, he also left the door open for the team to draft a future replacement, according to Fletcher Page of the Cincinnati Enquirer. Dalton has been in that gray area second tier of quarterbacks for a while now, and it’s been speculated that the Bengals could look to move on this offseason with Marvin Lewis finally out the door. Presumptive coach Zac Taylor can’t even join the team until his Rams play in the Super Bowl, and he’ll obviously have a large say in determining Dalton’s fate. Dalton seems safe for 2019, but as Page notes, the team can get out from his contract with no dead money at any time.
  • If you haven’t already read Seth Wickersham of ESPN.com‘s piece on the Browns, you need to now. Wickersham details a shocking level of dysfunction within the organization over the past handful of years since Jimmy Haslam bought the team, and it includes some bombshell details. Among other things, Haslam overruled the entire front office who wanted to hire current Bills coach Sean McDermott in favor of hiring Hue Jackson, and insisted the team take Johnny Manziel over Teddy Bridgewater in the 2014 draft because he didn’t like Bridgewater’s handshake. The article does leave off on a hopeful note, as new GM John Dorsey has been able to ward off most of Haslam’s meddling and cut him out of things, but it will be very interesting to see if Haslam again inserts himself into the process in the crucial coming months.