Once upon a time, Robert Griffin III was the most electrifying quarterback prospect in the NFL. Now he’s on his third team in four years after signing with the Baltimore Ravens, the team announced Wednesday.
Griffin is now the third quarterback on the roster. The Ravens were in the market for a backup for Joe Flacco. His previous backup, Ryan Mallett, is a free agent this offseason, and the only other quarterback on the roster was Josh Woodrum. General manager Ozzie Newsome said Griffin visited the team to workout last week, and the two sides came to an agreement last night.
At their press conference, head coach John Harbaugh said, “Where we’re at right now, I’m pretty excited about this player. I’m really feeling like we got a steal.”
Griffin tweeted about it shortly after the announcement:
Griffin’s fall from grace was hard to predict back when he was lighting up NFL defenses five years ago. Washington gave up a bounty to land the Baylor quarterback, trading away multiple high draft picks to select him No. 2 overall in the 2012 NFL Draft. RGIII exploded out of the gates in his rookie year, throwing 20 touchdowns to just five interceptions, averaging 8.1 yards per attempt, and rushing for 826 yards and seven touchdowns. He was a dual-threat phenomenon the likes of which the NFL hasn’t seen since Michael Vick was in his prime.
It all went downhill from there. After leading Washington to the division title, Griffin tore his ACL in the Wild Card round loss to the Seattle Seahawks. The injuries only piled up from there, as he played just 13 games in 2013 and nine in 2014. Meanwhile, Griffin devolved into a turnover machine, throwing 18 interceptions and losing eight fumbles over two years. Head coach Mike Shanahan got fired after the 2013 season, and new coach Jay Gruden eventually favored Kirk Cousins over RGIII, who spent the entire 2015 season on the inactive list.
Griffin got released by Washington and landed with the Cleveland Browns in 2016. The Browns hired Hue Jackson, a creative offensive mind who seemed committed to getting RGIII’s career back on track. Unfortunately, it was never to be. Griffin suffered a serious shoulder injury in Week 1 and ended up playing just five games. When healthy, he was the same rattled mess as before, not even throwing a single touchdown pass until the meaningless season finale. In that time, he threw three picks and set career lows in completion percentage (59.2) and yards per attempt (6.0). To his credit, he gave the Browns their last regular season win.
Griffin is only 28 years old, but the shine is thoroughly off him at this point, his brilliant rookie year a distant memory. But if Joe Flacco struggles in 2018, maybe there’s one last window of hope for him.