So why did Washington pick up the fifth-year option on quarterback Robert Griffin III’s contract? For executive V.P. of football operations Bruce Allen, it wasn’t even a question.
“We think Robert is a starting quarterback,” Allen said before the team’s inaugural charity golf classic, via Michael Phillips of the Richmond Times-Dispatch. “We’ve seen him win. We’ve seen him win big games. We know his talent. It really was a no-brainer. I think if you asked us six months before it would have been the same decision.”
But what about the risk of Griffin suffering an injury that would keep him from playing in 2016, but that would nevertheless entitle him to more than $16 million next year?
“There’s a cost to everyone who gets hurt,” Allen said. “I don’t see that as an individual player thing, as much as any injury is going to cost you on the salary cap.”
He’s right, but if Griffin goes down in 2015 and can’t play in 2016, the organization will be criticized for accepting an unnecessary risk. But accepting the injury risk eliminates the risk of Griffin turning his career around and forcing the team to use the franchise tag to keep him around beyond the coming season.
So they rolled the dice with $16 million for 2016 in order to avoid having to pay roughly $20 million or more, if Griffin becomes the guy in 2015 that he was in 2012. And if he stinks, the smart move will be to yank him from the field, ensconce him in bubble wrap, and then cut him in the offseason before that $16 million becomes fully guaranteed next March.