John Harbaugh says there’s nothing new on Ravens’ QB situation

AP

Will the Ravens add Colin Kaepernick or Robert Griffin III while Joe Flacco recovers from a back injury? Coach John Harbaugh has been asked the question several times in the last week, and he says there’s not much more to say about it.

“There’s really nothing new on that quarterback situation,” Harbaugh said today. “Nothing’s changed. It’s right where it was.”

Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti mentioned both Kaepernick and Griffin as players the Ravens had discussed internally, and Harbaugh says Bisciotti deserves credit for being transparent about the Ravens’ thought process.

“There’s really no update on that. I thought what he said was very honest, forthcoming and genuine comments that he made which I think you always respect from Steve. He does a great job with that and I think that’s what our fans should appreciate about him,” Harbaugh said.

Ultimately, Harbaugh said, every free agent quarterback in football is a possibility in Baltimore.

“I would pay attention to every quarterback that isn’t signed,” Harbaugh said. “They’re all options for us right now.”

Ravens shuffle QBs, sign Josh Woodrum

Getty Images

The Ravens have spent time talking about the possibility of signing Robert Griffin III and Colin Kaepernick in recent days, but neither one of them was involved in a roster move on Monday that brought a new quarterback to the roster.

David Olson, who was signed last week after word of Joe Flacco’s back problem broke, has been waived and Josh Woodrum has been signed in a corresponding move. Ryan Mallett and Dustin Vaughan are also on the roster at quarterback.

Woodrum played college ball at Liberty and signed with the Giants as an undrafted free agent last year. He was dropped after the rookie minicamp, spent time with the Colts before being cut in July and spent a few weeks on the Bears’ practice squad. Woodrum then moved onto the Bills’ offseason roster from January until he was dropped again in May.

That resume is one of a camp arm, which suggests that the team shares Flacco’s hope that a little rest will clear up what the quarterback described as stiffness in his back. If it looks like a longer absence is in the cards, the team may rethink the makeup of the depth chart.

Should Ravens sign Griffin or Kaepernick?

Getty Images

The Baltimore Ravens apparently are thinking about adding a former starting quarterback to bolster a depth chart that consists of an injured starter, a backup who plays that way, a fungible third-stringer with a pair of first names, and a no-name No. 4 option from a no-name team in a no-name league.

Owner Steve Bisciotti acknowledged on Sunday that his team is considering both Colin Kaepernick and Robert Griffin III.

So which one should they sign? Given that the Ravens are crowd sourcing whether to add Kaepernick, it makes sense for the PFT Live question of the day to focus on that either/or proposition.

The show is on NBCSN at 7:00 a.m. ET. It’s currently on NBC Sports Radio.

Ravens discuss signing Robert Griffin III

Getty Images

Looking for depth behind the injured Joe Flacco, the Ravens are considering quarterback Robert Griffin III.

That’s the word from Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti, who said at a forum for fans today that his team is discussing Griffin, the free agent quarterback who has been out of work since the Browns released him in March.

Once the NFL’s brightest young star in Washington, Griffin has barely been able to get a sniff this offseason. The Chargers brought him in for a tryout but decided against signing him, and otherwise he’s drawn no interest.

Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco is currently sitting out training camp with a back injury suffered lifting weights, and backup quarterback Ryan Mallett reportedly hasn’t looked good while running the first-string offense. Whether Griffin would look any better than Mallett remains to be seen, but the Ravens are at least discussing the possibility that RGIII could help.

RGIII workout may have helped Chargers land Cardale Jones

Getty Images

When word emerged of the Chargers working out quarterback Robert Griffin III, the motivation for it wasn’t clear. When someone with the Chargers leaked to ESPN that Griffin looked good, the motivation for it wasn’t clear. When the Chargers didn’t sign Griffin after such a supposedly good workout, the motivation for it wasn’t clear.

On Wednesday, it all became clear when the Chargers traded for quarterback Cardale Jones.

Griffin was the leverage for the Chargers in their talks with the Bills. Bringing Griffin in for a workout and leaking a positive review to ESPN made it clear to Buffalo that the Chargers had an alternative, in the event that Buffalo tried to put a thumb on the scale and get more from a guy who probably was on the way out if there hadn’t been a trade.

So why would Griffin allow himself to be used in this way? He likely didn’t know that the Chargers were trying to get Jones from the Bills. Even if Griffin had known what was happening, the workout knocked the dust off his name for the first time in months, reminding all other teams that he still exists.

Thus, it was a win-win-win. The Chargers got a quarterback they want, the Bills got rid of one they didn’t want, and Griffin got his name in circulation.

And maybe the Bills will be interested in giving Griffin his next workout. Right before they trade for someone else.

Anthony Lynn on Cardale Jones: He’s type of QB you want waiting on runway

Getty Images

The Chargers worked out Robert Griffin III and then traded for Cardale Jones. It reunites Jones with Anthony Lynn, who coached the quarterback last season in Buffalo.

“Cardale is a good young talent, and he’s going to add competition behind Philip Rivers,” Lynn said, via the team website. “He’s the type of quarterback you want waiting on the runway. He’s going to have the opportunity to come on the field and compete. Cardale is someone we think can be developed.”

Jones had a limited college career, completing only 166 of 269 passes for 2,322 yards with 15 touchdowns and seven interceptions. But he improbably led Ohio State to a national championship in 2014, passing for 742 yards with six total touchdowns in the Big Ten championship, Allstate Sugar Bowl and College Football Playoff National Championship.

The Bills made him a fourth-round pick last year based on that potential.

“When he started, the team didn’t lose,” Lynn said. “You’re talking about 11 starts, and he went undefeated in all of them. He never lost a game. Now, he did get benched but that’s because he didn’t fit the style of system their coach wanted. But I think that benefited him because he learned from it. He was able to learn from the system they wanted, and he’s able to do certain things that mobile quarterbacks can do because he did them throughout college. So he’s coming in here, and he’ll have a chance to compete for a spot.”

Rivers has never missed a start since he became the starter in 2006, but the Chargers still sought help at the position behind him. Kellen Clemens has served as the Chargers’ backup at quarterback the past two seasons, and Los Angeles has two developmental prospects on the roster in Mike Bercovici and Eli Jenkins.

Jones saw action in only one game last season, completing 6 of 11 passes for 96 yards with an interception in the Bills’ season finale.

“He only played a quarter,” Lynn said. “He didn’t play a whole lot, and that was a tough situation for everybody. The team had just fired the head coach three days before, so it was hard on everybody. He wasn’t even supposed to play in the game, but I thought we might as well put him in for a quarter.”

Bills trade Cardale Jones to Chargers for conditional draft choice

Getty Images

The Bills traded quarterback Cardale Jones to the Chargers for a conditional draft choice. The conditional pick is a seventh-rounder, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Jones was unlikely to make the Bills roster after falling to fourth on the depth chart behind Tyrod Taylor, T.J. Yates and fifth-round pick Nathan Peterman. Taylor and Yates both previously played under new offensive coordinator Rick Dennison.

The Bills selected Jones in the fourth round of the 2016 draft under a different front office and different coaching staff.

The former Ohio State star played only one game last season, going 6-for-11 for 96 yards and an interception in the season finale.

The trade reunites him with Anthony Lynn, now the Chargers head coach after being the running backs coach, then the offensive coordinator and then the interim head coach in Buffalo last season.

The Chargers worked out Robert Griffin III this week as they sought a backup to Philip Rivers. They have veteran Kellen Clemens and undrafted free agents Mike Bercovici and Eli Jenkins on the roster behind Rivers before Wednesday’s trade.

Wednesday morning one-liners

Getty Images

Veteran players on the Jets insist there will be no tanking.

Should the Bills cut DT Adolphus Washington for his recent weapons arrest?

The Dolphins are beefing up security at training camp.

Did last year’s suspension actually work in favor of Tom Brady?

The Ravens are a team under construction heading into camp.

Ex-Bengals WR Andrew Hawkins wrote a letter to Cincinnati after announcing his retirement.

And as an ex-Brown, Hawkins wrote to Cleveland as well.

Here’s what to do if you’re heading to Steelers camp.

NFL Network will have a setup at Texans camp.

Colts WR Chester Rogers is a player to keep an eye on in training camp.

Jaguars C Brandon Linder said he wanted to get his contract extension done so he could focus on training camp.

Titans QB Marcus Mariota is feeling great heading into camp.

The Broncos have announced that former head coach Gary Kubiak is returning to the team in a front office role.

Chiefs RB Kareem Hunt says he’s trying to adjust to a new playbook.

As the Chargers work out Robert Griffin III, many in Los Angeles are asking why they’re not considering Colin Kaepernick.

The Raiders hope TE Jared Cook gives them an option over the middle they didn’t have last year.

Cowboys WR Dez Bryant is feeling good heading into camp.

One columnist has some tough talk for Giants WR Odell Beckham.

It’s still unclear whether Eagles WR Jordan Matthews will be on the field on Thursday.

Washington CB Josh Norman says everyone believes in QB Kirk Cousins, regardless of his contract status.

Here’s a look at the Bears’ training camp schedule.

Lions RB Theo Riddick hopes to be back soon after a wrist injury.

The Packers’ Family Night usually fills Lambeau Field for a practice.

Said Vikings coach Mike Zimmer after watching the first couple practices of training camp, “They are working hard and we have got a lot of stuff in. I think practice was pretty good yesterday.”

How much should the Falcons pay RB Devonta Freeman?

Should the Panthers be concerned about C Ryan Kalil’s shoulder?

Here’s a look at the Saints’ likely roster.

It’s unfair to expect Bucs DT Gerald McCoy to be Warren Sapp.

Cardinals LB Scooby Wright made an impressive play in training camp.

Here’s what the Rams hope to accomplish in training camp.

The 49ers’ top pick, Solomon Thomas, remains unsigned.

Seahawks DE Michael Bennett’s forthcoming book is titled, “How to Make White People Uncomfortable.”

Tuesday morning one-liners

Getty Images

How many new starters will the Bills field on their offensive line?

What will DE Charles Harris give the Dolphins in his rookie season?

The Patriots secondary looks well stocked this year.

A call for the Jets to give RB Bilal Powell more work.

Said Ravens TE Maxx Williams of his recovery from a knee injury, “I’m finally back where I want to be. Now I just have to prove that I can play football again and show why I’m here.”

A look at the Bengals’ kicking competition.

The Browns have made a lot of changes to the roster since this time last year.

Steelers LB Keion Adams is heading into his first NFL training camp.

Texans RB Akeem Hunt believes he’ll surprise a lot of people this season.

Projecting playing time for the Colts rookies.

The Jaguars have used free agency and high draft picks to stock their defensive line.

CB Logan Ryan likes his new teammates in the Titans secondary.

The Broncos announced themes for their 2017 home games.

Chiefs coach Andy Reid discussed the recent changes to the team’s front office.

Raiders DE Khalil Mack wants a spot on HBO.

A look at what might interest the Chargers about QB Robert Griffin III.

WR Lucky Whitehead’s release was the big story for the Cowboys on Monday.

Former Giants players offered some advice to this year’s team.

Rookie CB Rasul Douglas is working through growing pains at Eagles practices.

The glory days for the Redskins are moving further into the past.

WR Victor Cruz said having former Giants teammates around helps his transition to the Bears.

A store in Michigan was selling t-shirts commemorating the Lions’ non-existent 2016 division title.

The Packers would like to have a Wisconsin-Notre Dame game at Lambeau Field.

Vikings CB Antone Exum is happy to be healthy.

Falcons G.M. Thomas Dimitroff hopes rookie DE Takkarist McKinley is ready for the final preseason games.

The Panthers defense is looking for a little anger.

TE Josh Hill looks set to open Saints training camp on the active roster.

Will the Buccaneers defense keep forcing turnovers?

Cardinals rookies are looking to veterans for the right approach to training camp.

More hits in the draft would help the Rams turn things around.

A 49ers roster projection shows how much they’ve changed this offseason.

Previewing the competition for Seahawks cornerback spots.

Chargers interested in Griffin but not Kaepernick

Getty Images

When other quarterbacks get workouts or sign contracts with teams instead of Colin Kaepernick, there are semi-plausible ways to distinguish the situation based on football principles. When Robert Griffin III draws interest from the Chargers and Kaepernick doesn’t, it’s impossible to explain the interest in one and not the other.

Unless, of course, the Chargers are deliberately shying away from Kaepernick for the reasons that many assume teams are shying away from Kaepernick — because he used the platform provided by an NFL team to lead a movement.

Kaepernick has achieved far more from a football standpoint than Griffin, who simply hasn’t been able to adjust his game to the pro level, where he can’t ran away from trouble like he did in high school and at Baylor. At the NFL level, he gets hit and he gets hurt and he hasn’t done squat since before injuring his knee against the Ravens as a rookie.

No one would suggest he has mastered a pro style offense. He’s roughly the same kind of quarterback that Kaepernick has been, and the Chargers being interested in the lesser option who has roughly the same skill set makes the decision to shun Kaepernick for either political or clumsily-justified business reasons obvious.

Sure, the Chargers may be concerned about alienating the L.A. market at a time when two teams are vying for the same hearts, minds, and wallets. But there’s also a way to argue that signing Kaepernick would give the Chargers an edge by immediately attracting the many fans in Southern California who would embrace Kaepernick’s activism.

Regardless of whether the reasons reflect prudence or wrong-headedness, the Chargers taking a look at Griffin and not Kaepernick confirms the idea that Kaepernick’s unemployment isn’t about football — and it definitely isn’t about catering to the many fans who would deem his non-football efforts to be a reason for becoming a fan of the L.A. Chargers.

Robert Griffin III gets a workout with the Chargers

Getty Images

With training camps opening around the NFL, Robert Griffin III has finally drawn some interest.

Griffin will work out for the Chargers on Tuesday, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports.

It’s the first report of any team having any interest at all in Griffin, who was the second overall draft pick and the NFL’s rookie of the year in 2012. A knee injury in the postseason after his rookie year changed the way Griffin played, and he’s never been even close to the star quarterback he was as a rookie.

Now he’ll get a shot to show he’s at least in good enough shape to serve as a camp arm and perhaps a backup to starter Philip Rivers.

Behind Rivers the Chargers have three quarterbacks on the depth chart: Kellen Clemens, Mike Bercovici and Eli Jenkins. If Griffin is even close to the same player he once was, he’s an improvement over any of those three backups. But whether Griffin can ever return to form remains to be seen.

Internal disagreement in Washington on value of Kirk Cousins

Getty Images

With the deadline for signing quarterback Kirk Cousins to a long-term deal three days away and no signs (yet) of a looming epiphany by Washington to pay Cousins what his circumstances and leverage merit, there’s an important reason for the lingering impasse.

Per a source with knowledge of the situation, internal disagreement exists within the organization regarding Cousins’ actual value.

Actually, the more accurate term is “persists.” The in-house discrepancy dates back to 2015, when it first appeared that Cousins would be the better option to Robert Griffin III. Because of the draft-pick investment that had been made to acquire Griffin, some weren’t ready to ditch Griffin for Cousins.

Others advocated offering Cousins what would have been a significant raise (upwards of $10 million per year) but that also would be dramatically less than what he made in 2016 ($19.95 million), what he’ll make in 2017 ($23.94 million), and what he could make in 2018 ($28.7 million under the transition tag, $34.7 million under the franchise tag, or whatever he could get on a long-term deal from Washington in lieu of the application or either tag or a trip to the open market).

And so it appears that Washington will kick the can for another year, only to see it grow even larger by 2018. At some point, they’ll either have to pay him what his circumstances and leverage require, or they’ll have to let him walk away.

All quiet on the RGIII front

Getty Images

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.

What will it cost to keep Derek Carr from going the Kirk Cousins route?

Getty Images

Of all the players who could have decided to let their rookie contracts expire and play year-to-year since the NFL and NFL Players Association made it considerably more expensive to franchise-tag for a third time in 2006, Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins would have been low on the list of candidates.

But Cousins has become the year-to-year guinea pig (that swine is currently dining on filet mignon), primarily because Washington bungled its shot at getting Cousins under contract at a much more affordable rate before he cashed the last game check under his rookie deal, and the franchise-tag dance began. Two years later, Cousins has made $19.95 million, triggered another $23.94 million, and sits 16 games away from the doomsday scenario for D.C.: a cost of $34.47 million to apply the franchise tag a third time.

Others will now benefit from Washington’s mistake. In Oakland, the Raiders see what can (will) happen if they don’t break the bank now for quarterback Derek Carr, who wants a new deal before training camp opens or not at all this year. The unmistakable message: Oakland’s chance to avoid the Kirk Cousins scenario expires in a matter of weeks.

The situation also gives the Raiders a clear example of what’s behind Door No. 2 if they don’t sign Carr now before assuming the risk of a year-to-year scenario that could see Oakland (and eventually Las Vegas) shelling out far more millions later if they don’t marry Carr now.

Ultimately, the question becomes what will it take to get Carr signed? Given that the market for quarterbacks hasn’t grown at the same rate as the salary cap has mushroomed in recent years (it’s up 35 percent from 2013 to 2017), the Raiders can justify making Carr the highest paid player in year history at $25 million per year because, frankly, someone already should be making $30 million per year.

The deeper question is how hard of a bargain will Carr drive? Between Tom Brady’s notoriously team-friendly approach (if Mike Glennon is worth $16 million per year, how much could Brady get, if he wanted to push for every last penny?) and Peyton Manning’s f–k-you-pay-me strategy lies a balance where the player is more-than-handsomely compensated and the team is more than capable of putting a quality lineup around him, given the constraints of the salary cap.

At $25 million per year, Carr would be consuming only 14.9 percent of the current cap. In 2004, Manning signed a deal worth $14.17 million per year, the cap was $80.582 million, and the burden was 17.59 percent. (Two years later, he hoisted a Lombardi Trophy in a driving South Florida rainstorm.)

Any team that has found a young franchise quarterback, has no viable options for replacing him, and has no interest in hoping to get lucky with another roll of the dice on draft day needs to keep the player at any cost. Or, more accurately, at a cost much lower than the $78 million Washington could be paying Cousins from 2016 through 2018, with no rights to him for 2019 or beyond.

For the player, the zeal to squeeze a billionaire must be tempered by the risk of serious injury or ineffectiveness. But how many great young quarterbacks suddenly lose their ability to play great — and how many quarterback injuries are truly career ending? Other than Robert Griffin III, who had one great year, tore an ACL, and never saw his career recover, budding franchise quarterbacks tend to become (and remain) full-fledged franchise quarterbacks.

So Carr’s risk of not meriting the year-to-year franchise tag is small, Oakland’s eventual financial responsibility is significant, and if Carr will take $25 million per year the Raiders should print the contract and sign it now — before Carr realizes that he also should insist that he still will be paid 14.9 percent of the cap in 2019 and beyond.

Talk of possible Kirk Cousins deal is “noise” until the middle of July

Getty Images

Much has been said in recent weeks about the negotiations between Washington and franchise-tagged quarterback Kirk Cousins. From dramatic reports on the suddenly positive tone to percentage-based predictions suggesting the glass is well more than half full, reporters are desperate to get ahead of something that necessarily remains premature.

“So much noise,” said a source with knowledge of the situation on Tuesday.

As to whether progress has been made, the source added, “Nothing to report. Will be interesting to see what happens mid-July.”

PFT noted over the weekend that the July 15 deadline for doing a long-term deal bumps to Monday, July 17 because the 15th lands on a Saturday. So the two sides have 27 days to get something done.

And the two sides most likely will take nearly the full amount of the 27 days. There’s no reason not to; neither side will move toward its bottom-line position until the clock is close to striking 4:00 p.m. ET on the 17th. If either the team or the player puts the best number on the table now, the other side will wait it out, hoping that the offer will get better before the real deadline.

The math remains simple. Anything less than this year’s cash in hand ($23.94 million) and next year’s transition tender (a 20-percent raise, amounting to $28.7 million) fully guaranteed at signing will not get a deal done — unless Cousins decides to do a Tom Brady-style deal by usurping the agent and, in turn, hurting the agent’s ability to retain and recruit clients.

The agent, Mike McCartney, is hardly being unreasonable by expecting more than $52 million fully guaranteed at signing. Cousins has played (and won) the game to the tune of nearly $44 million over two years, and he’s one more year in the Year-To-Yearopoly away from $28.7 million for the transition tag in 2018 (which would give Washington only the right to match an offer sheet signed elsewhere), $34.47 million for the franchise tag in 2018 (which would allow Washington to keep or trade him in 2018), or a free and clear shot at the open market.

Cousins has both the leverage and the financial security. There’s no reason for him to do anything other than the kind of deal that his circumstances would suggest, taking the Peyton Manning/Darrelle Revis-style position that it’s not on Cousins to manage his team’s salary cap. That falls on team management, and team management badly bungled the situation by not immediately offered Cousins a long-term deal at $18 million or so per year the moment the franchise decided that, like Gus Frerotte supplanting Heath Shuler more than 20 years ago, Cousins would be bumping Robert Griffin III out of the starting lineup and, eventually, off the roster.

Cousins quite possibly will be joining Griffin as a former Washington quarterback by next year, unless team president Bruce Allen (who holds the real power in the wake of the recent restructuring) cries Uncle and pays the piper as July 17 approaches.