Nothing is more valuable in the NFL than a talented quarterback, and yet there’s a quarterback who has been chosen to a Pro Bowl, has led a team to the playoffs, is just 27 years old, and can’t get so much as a sniff from any team in the league: Robert Griffin III.
We at PFT monitor every single report about player signings around the NFL, and we haven’t had a post about Griffin since the day he was cut by the Browns, on March 10. We’ve mentioned Griffin a handful of times, but generally in passing when listing veteran quarterbacks who are available. There hasn’t been so much as a rumor of a team that might bring him in for a workout, or a visit, or offer him a league-minimum contract.
Griffin’s immense talent made him the second overall pick and the rookie of the year in 2012. His knee injury that postseason may have permanently changed him as a player, but what would be the harm in offering him a camp-arm contract and letting him show if he still has something left?
There are no questions about whether Griffin can keep his mouth shut and avoid being a distraction as a backup, because that’s exactly what he did in his last season in Washington. He was benched for Kirk Cousins in the preseason, never played a down all year, and also never complained in the media or made the kinds of headlines that coaches don’t want their backup quarterbacks to make. Griffin hasn’t been arrested or otherwise been in off-field trouble, and his social media presence consists of things like welcoming his newborn daughter into the world and announcing that his foundation has given money to support an injured firefighter. He conducts himself exactly the way teams want players to conduct themselves off the field.
And yet Griffin remains unemployed, with training camps fast approaching. Griffin wasn’t particularly good in Cleveland last year, but he was no worse than Josh McCown, who managed to get a $6 million salary this year with the Jets. Among the quarterbacks who have shown significantly less upside than Griffin but have managed to sign with new teams this offseason are Mark Sanchez, Nick Foles, Josh Johnson, Aaron Murray, Case Keenum, Geno Smith, David Fales, T.J. Yates, EJ Manuel, Matt McGloin, Blaine Gabbert and Austin Davis. If you’re an NFL coach and your starting quarterback goes down, would you really rather turn to Murray, Manuel or McGloin than Griffin?
Apparently some coaches would. And so Griffin will have to hope the call that hasn’t come yet comes some time before the start of the season.