Nothing has changed when it comes to quarterback Robert Griffin III and the Washington Redskins. The football people weren't sold on him last year. They're not sold on him this year. And they're ready to move on. Some were definitely ready to do so after 2014.
The difference now? His game hasn't changed and any hope that Griffin might have developed as a passer is gone. The fact that the Redskins now are exploring all options when it comes to him? No surprise. Unlike last season, this really could be coming to its conclusion.
Owner Dan Snyder now has to listen to his football people. Good organizations trust those they hire. If they're all telling him something, personal feelings must be set aside -- hard as it may be for him.
Regardless, here are the four scenarios involving Griffin:
Keep him as the starter: This is unlikely as the coaching staff was disappointed over his showing in his outing two weeks ago against Detroit and at best were lukewarm about his opener. The details of his game, the ability to process a pre-snap read to avoid hits and negative situations, didn't change. There has been a lack of confidence that it ever would -- one person on the football side last season bemoaned the Griffin's lack of instincts for the game. It would not be fixed by coaching, he said. There was a resignation to the potential lost time that would go toward fixing a problem that he didn't view as fixable. Starting him is not a good option.
For Snyder, 2012 has to still resonate. Griffin's rookie year was magical, but as one official told me this summer, “That guy doesn't exist anymore.” Two reasons: knee injury, ankle injury.
Keep him as a backup: If they look at the three other options, they might have no choice for a few reasons to keep him around. They could make him the No. 3 quarterback and make it clear he won't play barring injuries to either Kirk Cousins or Colt McCoy. The risk is that neither Cousins nor McCoy are big, sturdy passers. If they both miss time and Griffin plays, say, late in the season then the Redskins are risking an injury to Griffin -- and a possible $16.12 million salary cap hit next year because of his fifth-year option. That money becomes guaranteed if Griffin can't pass the season-ending physical. And if Gruden desperately wants the attention paid to 53 players and not one plus 52, then keeping Griffin around courts more drama. There has been a fatigue with this for a while, by players, coaches and other officials. In the past two years when Griffin was removed as the starter, he stayed quiet. But even as a backup, there will be intense interest in him. For what it's worth, part of the reason Griffin remained was that while McCoy and Cousins have their fans here, they also have flaws that lead to detractors.
Trade him: Picking up his option made this an undesirable aspect for almost any team wanting a quarterback. Any team that would trade for him would have one season to decide if Griffin was worth of a huge chunk of change in 2016. For that right, they'd have to surrender a draft pick? As one executive said earlier Sunday, it takes only one team. Also, more teams are going with only two passers so that might preclude them from having a backup who did not know their offense and might be a poor fit anyway. Another team official said earlier this summer they would have entertained offers for any of their quarterbacks, including Griffin. At the time it would have taken a high pick (meaning: they weren't trading him). The problem is, late last season one executive said he thought Griffin would fetch only a fifth-round pick -- this summer has not helped his value. Another factor: Would you trade for a guy and take on the risk of an option for someone who would be your backup and might require a different style of offense than the starter to be effective?
Release him: It would end the drama and allow the coaching staff and franchise to perhaps retain a sense of normalcy. As much as they can have that in Washington. If they truly don't believe in a player, why keep him around? That's true whether it's Griffin or a cornerback. Let him find a team that might want him just to see what he can or can't do; go somewhere they might still believe in you. Every player wants that. The problem: If the Redskins cut him, they'd be on the hook for a $6.7 million cap hit. So if they go this route, you know how badly some wanted this to happen. The Redskins can absorb the hit, having $8.9 million in cap space available.
If new Redskins general manager Scot McCloughan is also ready to move on from Griffin, this would be the ultimate test of his power.