I started writing something up about Robert Griffin III's future in Washington a few weeks ago after reading this question in John Keim's weekly mailbag article, but it got pushed to the backburner and was never published.
This was before the Buccaneers debacle, and the pressers from Jay Gruden and Robert Griffin III that followed. And then the countless other comments/interviews/social media messages that followed. With the news last night that Griffin will be benched in favor of Colt McCoy, we're way past talking about picking up Griffin's 5th year option, which will be between $16-18 million for the 2016 season. We're now entering the "Will RGIII be on the team next year?" phase of the speculation. Griffin still has one year left on his rookie contract, and is scheduled to count for $6.7 million against the salary cap next season, and there are zero cap savings if for some crazy reason he was outright cut. But if the team were to trade him, they would get $3.3 million back against the cap.
The only scenario that would see Robert Griffin III not being on the Washington Redskins(besides early retirement) would be through a trade. Bill Barnwell from Grantland published an article yesterday discussing some of the possible trade destinations and possible compensation for RGIII. If the Redskins don't pick up Griffin's 5th year option(which is only guaranteed for injury), the team will be trying to trade a QB with a lot of question marks who only has one (cheap)year left on his rookie deal. Barnwell speculates that Griffin will not return much on the Redskins investment, throwing out a 2016 4th round pick that could elevate to a 2nd. The Redskins would obviously be looking for more than that in a potential trade and would want picks this year to work with. Barnwell offered 10 potential trade destinations for Griffin, including the division rival Philadelphia Eagles.
With the state of the team, and questions about the other QBs on the roster it's conceivable that he could be back on the field as early as next week against the St. Louis Rams. The other scenario for his future is that things aren't as bad as they seem, and Robert Griffin III will rebound from his injury-shortened 3rd year and return to the Redskins next year to fight for the starting job again. Even if the Redskins decline to pick up Griffin's option, they can extend his current deal during next season if he is playing well and they still believe he is the future of the franchise. Does Gruden have the patience to wait for that to happen, or has he already determined through his words and actions that there is no future for Robert Griffin III with the Washington Redskins? It's going to be an interesting time until we get some resolution on the RGIII era.