On Thursday’s PFT Live, we tried to make sense of the Ravens’ decision to sign quarterback Robert Griffin III. Is he a “normal” backup quarterback, whose job it will be support the starter and play only if absolutely necessary? Is it to be a potential alternative to the starter? Or are the Ravens hoping for a chance to evaluate Griffin this year, in the hopes of maybe letting him to compete to be the starter in 2019, if they move on from Joe Flacco?
The bottom line is that the Ravens needed a backup quarterback, and they didn’t have a ton of cap space or viable options. Griffin accepted a contract worth not much more than the veteran minimum. (The extra benefit is that Griffin could be used in a change-of-pace Wildcat-style package, if the Ravens would choose to do that.)
Whatever the reason for adding Griffin, the status of Flacco can’t be overlooked. The price for winning Super Bowl XLVII included a market-value contract for Flacco, backloaded in a way that required a restructuring two years ago. Now, Flacco has a salary of only $12 million but, due to payments previously made, a cap figure of more than twice that. Cutting him would trigger more than $28 million in dead money.
Next year could be the moment the Ravens move on. The salary spikes to $18.5 million, the cap number jumps to $26.5 million, and the dead money drops to $16 million, which could be split over two years.
Regardless of the plan for the future, the plan for the present is to go with Flacco and Griffin, and possibly a rookie to be groomed and developed for potential use as soon as 2019, if Flacco doesn’t play like the guy who bet on himself and cashed in with a Super Bowl MVP trophy.