Robert Griffin III

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.

Extra Points: Ravens, Griffin, Texans, Saints

It’s been a long road for Robert Griffin III. After he was released by the Redskins, Griffin wound up in Cleveland as the Browns’ starting quarterback in 2016. He was immediately injured and ended up playing only a few games, and was released after the year. After that he spent the entire 2017 season out of football, and it looked like his career might be coming to an end. But then Griffin inked a deal with the Ravens out of nowhere this past spring, and made the team. While he’s been the third stringer behind Joe Flacco and Lamar Jackson and inactive most of the season, Griffin is just happy to be back in the league, and he described his journey in a recent sit down with Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic.

“It’s been special because I was not guaranteed a roster spot at the beginning of the year. I had a non-guaranteed contract, a minimal signing bonus and I had to earn it every step of the way”, Griffin said. Griffin was projected to be cut by most analysts because John Harbaugh has very rarely kept three quarterbacks on the active roster, but he had an impressive preseason and earned a spot. Zrebiec writes the Ravens first became interested in the former Heisman Trophy winner in the summer of 2017, but Griffin thought the timing wasn’t right. Griffin also reflected on his experience losing his job in Washington to Kirk Cousins while he was out with an injury, and how it relates to what Flacco is going through right now. The whole conversation is definitely worth a read.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • The Texans have been very impressive this year, but they still have a bunch of holes on the roster as they look to build around Deshaun Watson. The team could use help on the offensive line and in the secondary, and John McClain of the Houston Chronicle “strongly believe[s]” that the team will “get an offensive tackle and a cornerback in the first two rounds” of next year’s draft. McClain is as plugged in as any beat writer in the game, so he certainly has a feel for what the organization is thinking. The Texans have an extra second round pick thanks to the Duane Brown trade, so they’ll have plenty of ammo to acquire top talent.
  • The Texans have been without an offensive coordinator for a while, but that could change soon. Head coach Bill O’brien has been acting as his own offensive coordinator since he fired George Godsey, and McClain thinks their tight ends coach Tim Kelly will be their next offensive coordinator, saying that he’s “highly thought of” within the building.
  • The Saints will be without starting left tackle Terron Armstead for at least another week, according to Josh Katzenstein of NOLA.com (Twitter link). Armstead has now missed the last month of the season with a pectoral injury. Drew Brees‘ pass protection has fallen off without Armstead, and Brees has struggled a bit with the additional pressure in recent weeks.

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Joe Flacco Doubtful For Week 11

Entering a key AFC North game, the Ravens have a decision to make. They listed Joe Flacco as doubtful going into Sunday’s game against the Bengals, putting the team to a probable Lamar Jackson-or-Robert Griffin III choice.

Flacco’s been dealing with a hip injury since Baltimore’s Week 9 loss to Pittsburgh. The veteran quarterback was spotted on crutches last week and has not practiced this week. Jackson didn’t practice on Thursday because of an illness, and a “legitimate possibility” exists of an RG3 start, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com notes (video link). Jackson did return to practice Friday.

John Harbaugh said Friday his starter may still play, but not practicing all week is not a good indication that will happen, Flacco’s toughness notwithstanding.

The Ravens have wanted to get Jackson involved more. Regardless of Flacco’s Sunday status, Jackson will play more. Not knowing how much obviously will make game-planning difficult for the Bengals in advance of this pivotal matchup. Griffin outplayed Jackson, viewed as a raw passer coming into the draft, during the preseason.

Griffin, though, has not played since the 2016 season. As Jackson’s been used sparingly in certain packages, Griffin’s represented roster depth. That hasn’t been needed in Baltimore since Flacco tore his ACL in 2015. The 11-year starter battled a back injury last season but did not miss any time as a result.

Griffin started five games for the 2016 Browns, being the first-unit passer in that team’s only win. Out of football last season and benched throughout 2015 in order to protect the Redskins against a potential fifth-year option vesting, Griffin’s thrown just five touchdown passes since the end of the 2013 season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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.