Four years ago, Washington gave up three first-round draft picks and a second-round pick to get quarterback Robert Griffin III. Now, as the fifth year of his rookie deal prepare to kick in with a $16.155 million salary for 2016 becoming fully guaranteed on the first day of the league year in March, it’s a given that Washington will cut him before then.
And that makes Wednesday’s comments from G.M. Scot McCloughan a little confusing. Addressing the media from practice sessions in advance of the Senior Bowl, McCloughan opted to be coy about the plans for Griffin.
“Well, you know what, the thing is, and I’m looking forward to getting back because we had the playoff game, of course, then you had the loss,” McCloughan said when asked directly about the team’s plans for Griffin. “I had that week where I met with the staff as a whole on that Monday, we went over the game, you know, the tape and all that, and then they had that week to self-scout their own guys and I got the book right before I went to Florida last week for the East-West Shrine Game, and then of course I came here. So, I’m looking forward to getting back there after the Super Bowl and meeting with each coach individually and going over every player.”
Asked whether he can see a scenario where the team would keep Griffin, McCloughan was slightly less vague.
“Certainly, the thing that’s good about what we have right now is that we have until March 9th, and that’s why I want to sit down with the coaches. Not just the coordinators, the position coach, but everybody individually and just get a feel for it. He is a good football player, he’s a really good person, and he’s under contract. That’s where we’re at right now.”
He is under contract, but there’s no way the team wants that contract to become fully guaranteed. Indeed, it’s one of the reasons Griffin was inactive for every game of 2015, when Griffin’s contract was guaranteed only in the event he suffered an injury that would have carried into 2016.
In theory, Washington could work out a new contract with Griffin before cutting him. But why would he take less when he could hit the open market, get a fresh start, and maybe become the starter against elsewhere?
Regardless of who’s to blame (and pretty much everyone involved in the relationship bears some of it), Griffin needs to move on. And Washington gains nothing by being coy about it, because no one is trading for a contract worth $16.155 million in 2016.