For the first-round picks selected in 2012, the deadline for picking up the fifth-year option arrives on May 3. In Washington, a decision on quarterback Robert Griffin III hasn’t officially been made.
According to Albert Breer of NFL Media, the team is “likely” to pick up Griffin’s option for 2016.
If the option is exercised, Griffin will have a $16.1 million base salary in what would become the fifth and final year of his rookie deal. The payment is guaranteed for injury only until the start of the next league year, at which time it becomes fully guaranteed.
The risk for Washington comes from the possibility that Griffin would suffer an injury that extends from 2015 into 2016. If that happens, they’ll be on the hook for the full amount of the money.
The real question is whether Washington has leaked word of their “likely” intentions to obscure their draft plans. For example, by creating the impression that they’re planning to exercise the option on Griffin by May 3, Washington could be plotting to take Marcus Mariota — if he’s still on the board. And with Washington creating the impression they’re not inclined to take Mariota, teams like the Browns and Eagles wouldn’t feel compelled to trade up to No. 2, No. 3, or No. 4 to get Mariota; instead, they can try to swing a deal with Washington at No. 5.
There’s also a chance that Washington has gone next level, hoping that other teams will interpret the leak of their desire to keep Griffin as a smokescreen for their interest in Mariota.
Either way, we’ll have an answer by Thursday night. Which can’t come soon enough.