Feb 19, 2016, 5:15 AM EDT
Here is what you need to know on this Friday, February 19, five days before the NFL Combine in Indianapolis.
Why RG3 won’t go to the Cowboys
The next team that Robert Griffin III will play for is already set, according to the conventional wisdom of many fans and members of the media. He is going to sign with the Dallas Cowboys and back up Tony Romo until the veteran retires and then RG3 will become the starting QB in Big D.
There are many reasons why RG3 to Dallas is inevitable. He’s from Texas. When the Redskins played in Dallas in the season finale there were some fans on the sideline with RG3 No. 10 Cowboys jerseys on. He would be welcomed with open arms. Jerry Jones likes high-profile players he certainly was dazzled by what Griffin did to his team in his house on Thanksgiving Day in 2012. The Cowboys need a backup quarterback and Griffin will be available when the Redskins release him sometime between now and March 9.
It’s all too perfect except for one thing—it’s not going to happen.
For one thing, it makes no sense once all of the hoopla is done and the players actually have to take the field and play games. If (when?) Romo gets injured again, Griffin is exactly the wrong person to come in and help the Cowboys win games.
Here is the way that Jean-Jacques Taylor, who covers the Cowboys for ESPN.com and knows the Dallas offense much better than I do, put it in a recent post:
What you must understand is that the Cowboys run a timing-based passing scheme, built around quarterbacks throwing the ball just as the receiver makes his break. No way, based on what we’ve seen during his four-year NFL career, could Griffin successfully run the Cowboys’ offense.
Taylor noted that a member of the Cowboys front office said that In December one member of the Cowboys’ front office said, “Griffin was an even worse fit in the Cowboys’ offense than [Johnny] Manziel”. Taylor concluded by saying, “Someone will give Griffin a chance, but it won’t be the Cowboys.”
Not only would Griffin with a star on his helmet not work for the Cowboys, it wouldn’t work for Griffin either. Romo is the established starter in Dallas. He turns 36 in a couple of months which is getting up there in years but far from ancient. Yes he was injured most of last year but that happens. Romo is not a particularly fragile; he had missed a total of two games in the four years leading up to the 2015 season. The backup might get a start here and there but steady work is unlikely.
A chance for Griffin to be the starter is at least a couple of years away. Romo’s contract locks him into Dallas for at least two more years, with prohibitive amounts of dead cap in 2016 ($31.9 million) and 2017 ($19.6 million). Maybe they could consider letting him go in 2018 when the dead cap drops to “only” $8.9 million. Of course, they could restructure the deal again and push even more money into later years, again increasing the dead cap to a prohibitive amount.
But even given the shorter, two-year time frame during which Griffin would have to show that he is a better alternative than Romo, will RG3 want to wait that long? He would be entering his age 28 season. It’s not impossible to establish yourself in your late 20’s—Kirk Cousins breakthrough season came last year at the age of 27. But a guy who was driven, perhaps to the point where it was against common sense, to recover from a torn ACL in time for the 2013 season opener doesn’t seem like a guy who would willingly sign on knowing he would have to wait at least two years to be The Man.
To be sure, there aren’t any teams where Griffin could walk in and be the starter. But there are plenty of places where the QB situation is much shakier than it is in Dallas. I count seven—the Jets, Browns, Texans, Broncos, Eagles, Rams, and 49ers. There could be a few more that are under the radar right now. Not all are fits in terms of scheme and culture but all of them are more likely to have Griffin in a situation he plays more in 2016 than he would in Dallas and is more likely be the starter going into 2017 than he would be with the Cowboys.
Not the right situation for the team, not right for the player. Other than those factors, the only ones that really matter, it’s the perfect fit.
—The Redskins last played a game 40 days ago. It will be about 206 days until they play another one.
—Days until: NFL Combine 5; NFL free agency starts 19; 2016 NFL draft 69
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