The Rams want to upgrade their quarterback position. And it looks like a former NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year wants to be that upgrade.
Robert Griffin III “very much” wants to play for the Rams in Los Angeles, a source close to the situation indicated on Thursday.
The fit seems like a natural, although it comes with risk after RG3 lost his starting job with the Washington Redskins and was ultimately released last week after four seasons in the nation’s capitol.
Nevertheless, the Rams can surround him with a strong supporting cast that includes dynamic young running back Todd Gurley – the reigning NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year – playmaker Tavon Austin, an improved offensive line and a solid defense.
In other words, RG3 won’t have to carry the Rams as much as he just needs to compliment them. And that seems appealing to a player trying to revive his career with a change of scenery.
The best year of RG3’s career came in 2012 when he and Redskins running back Alfred Morris beautifully played off each other. Operating out of the zone-read offense, the powerful legs of Morris and RG3 combined for 2,431 rushing yards and 20 touchdowns, and their running threat helped open up the passing game for RG3, who threw for 3,200 yards and 20 touchdowns and compiled a 102.4 quarterback rating.
It was a spectacular rookie season to be sure, one in which Griffin became the youngest player in NFL history to post a perfect 158.3 passer rating while throwing for 200 yards and four touchdowns against the Eagles. He established rookie records for best QB rating and best TD-to-interception ratio. The Redskins made the playoffs for the first time since 2007, and RG3 was voted team captain by his peers and named NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.
Apparently, the possibility operating in the same backfield as Gurley along with the threat that Austin has sparked legitimate interest in RG3.
There is risk.
As good as that 2012 season was, it also set the stage for three ensuing years of drama thanks to a late-season leg injury that Griffin obviously returned from too soon. The resulting dysfunction pitted coaches and player and team doctors against each other, with everyone absorbing and deflecting the blame for letting RG3 back on the field too soon.
And it ultimately sent the Redskins scurrying around changing coaches and offensive systems figuring out ways to best protect and utilize their prized young quarterback.
But when they finally settled on Jay Gruden, it created the worst-possible situation for RG3: He was a square peg in Gruden’s drop-back pass offense. But his teammate, Kirk Cousins, was built perfectly for it.
Which is why the Redskins just slapped Cousins with the franchise tag, and why RG3 is looking for a job.
For all those reasons, any team – including the Rams – should be wary of the former Baylor great.
There is the potential reward.
RG3 did not play one snap last year, which means his body is as healthy as possible. So many of his problems in Washington, D.C., were related to the injuries – a fact even Gruden supported – so it only stands to reason a healthy bodied RG3 might also be a spiritually sound RG3.
The breath of fresh air created by moving out of the drama of Washington, D.C., to the warmth and promise of the Los Angeles Rams might just be the key that unlocks the trapped star still residing in RG3.
It likely won’t require a monumental investment. RG3 is so eager to re-establish himself, he’ll no doubt be interested in a short-term show-me contract that allows him to regain his footing while maintaining the flexibility to tap back into the financial market sooner rather than later.
That makes sense for the Rams, who can then use the 15th pick on a much-needed wide receiver to compliment Austin – and RG3 – and circle back to a development quarterback in the second or third round.
If it works, the Rams might have found the 26-year-old quarterback of their present and future.
If it doesn’t, they can easily and quickly move on.