1. Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhh...Do you hear that sound? You have to really listen close. It's the sound of a team that may just be realizing that waving your hands and generating headlines--literally manufacturing headlines--is not the best way to hoist a championship trophy. I would stop short of suggesting the Redskins have fully turned a corner, mostly because we have still had a few hiccups this offseason, but it would be foolish to fail to recognize the...professional...nature of OUR Washington Redskins.
2. This isn't to suggest there aren't major distractions lurking at every corner. One major topic of conversation for the next few weeks is likely to be the fifth-year option decision on Robert Griffin III. Before we take this conversation to a weird place: NO, the Redskins are not likely to exercise the option. For all of the reasons even the most casual observer could list, RG3 will probably have to play out the 2015 season on a one-year deal. For all of the reasons each of us could list, we have come to grips with this reality.
3. My understanding is that the fifth-year salary would be guaranteed for injury. This is...uhhhhh...a problem for the Redskins. Injury has been kind of an "area of concern" for this particular player. There are few better examples of situations where you "wait and see" than this one. Griffin can't even hold it against the team--he has to realize that businesses don't just stroke $16 million checks to lock up assets that have yet to earn the right to be paid so handsomely. Sure, he did credit Tom Brady's success to the support the Patriots organization provides. Sure, he does seem to feed off of things like being named the starter in February. Still, until proven otherwise, I simply can't believe that Griffin thinks the Redskins should sign up to the fifth year of this show. He is too smart.
4. You might argue that if Griffin has a huge year, the Redskins would be in quite a pickle. I would argue that we are already swimming in a giant Vlasic jar, but let's say #10 does blow up this year. I am dying to understand how this would put us in a worse spot than the one in which we already find ourselves. Today, we have no franchise quarterback--we just have a guy that we "hope" can grow into one. We're not coming off of a season where anyone "took the next step" towards showing they can be the next highly-paid leader of our offense. If anything, things got murkier after last season. This isn't to suggest that anyone believes Colt McCoy could emerge as our "guy," but the fact he is still around should tell you something. Kirk Cousins still seems to hold the interest and imagination of the coaching staff. In a word, our quarterback situation is "unsettled." Previous iterations of the Redskins front office would have attempted to settle things by spending money (organizational stability through superior check-writing). We have seen where that takes us.
5. Failing to exercise the fifth-year option on Griffin doesn't really put the team in that much worse of a spot if he does become a difference maker in 2015, as the franchise tag the Redskins might be compelled to use would only cost a few million more than the cost of the fifth year. Betting on the come is certainly a strategy worth employing...at times. Based on the amount of holes on our roster, and the long-term resources that will be required to find solutions, it makes little sense to pay up for that which is not known. Again, if Griffin has a year that legitimately puts him on the map, the Redskins won't necessarily have to spend a LOT more to keep him than they would if they straddled the big blind now. (Is it just me, or does anyone else have a hankering to do some gambling?) Any long-term deal that Griffin earns through his play in 2015 is not likely to ratchet him up into the rarefied contract air of the game's greats. No matter what he does, he cannot expect to outrun or escape his injury-filled past. It will always be a key component of any contract he signs in the NFL for the rest of his career.
6. This brings me to why I think we can all agree that RG3 will be on a one-year deal: his next injury is likely to be his last (and not in a good way). The injury guarantee on the fifth-year option will ultimately keep this from ever getting done. No offense to Griffin, but nobody in their right mind should bet $16 million that he WON'T get hurt. While I think that all of this is true and makes sense, I can't help but think:
Robert Griffin III can be a very, very good quarterback in the NFL. The ball flies out of his hands. I think his accuracy is underrated, even if it still needs a lot of work. His feet can be his best friend and worst enemy, but as long as he can run, his athleticism is a weapon. He has home run potential, causing defensive coaches to defend parts of the field they can ignore with other quarterbacks. Even after three seasons, he remains a raw product, though he finds himself in the middle of a healthy offseason that is allowing him to (hopefully) grow in Jay Gruden's system. As long as hope is the prevailing sentiment of the day, however, the only sound investment worth making at this point is an emotional investment. This is one that can be joined by the player, the team and the fanbase. On this, I can honestly say that yes, I am in.