One of the comments that some have made after the Redskins’ announcement that they will pick up the fifth-year contract option for Robert Griffin III is that is will take some of the pressure off of him. With a contract for 2016 in his pocket, Griffin has some degree of assurance about his future in Washington so he won’t be pressing.
Yes, the contract option is not guaranteed. The Redskins could choose to terminate it any time prior to March of 2016. But almost any NFL contract can be terminated at any time. The concept of “security” is relative in the NFL.
The option is guaranteed for injury and that’s both good and bad for Griffin. If he suffers a serious injury playing in 2015 some or all of the $16.2 million salary attached to the option could become guaranteed.
The good news is if Griffin is injured, something he a tendency to do, there is some degree of security for him and his family. The bad news is that it is very much in the interest of the Redskins to make sure that Griffin doesn’t get injured.
That means that Griffin is likely to have a very short window to prove that he will be worth the $16.2 million salary in 2016. If he is struggling the organization might be inclined to bench him to prevent an injury rather than leave him behind center to see if he can work out his issues.
How long will he get? It’s hard to say. If Griffin struggles in training camp and in the preseason like he did last year, the answer might be the month of September, maybe a game or two into October. If he is showing signs of progress early in the year, he will get some more time. Griffin does not need to come out and immediately display his 2012 form in order to keep from being benched. He does need to show that he is getting it and play better than he did last year and during most of 2013.
I don’t believe that Jay Gruden and Scot McCloughan will be anxious to pull the rug out from under Griffin. The best thing for the organization would be for him to go out and immediately become a quarterback they will be happy to pay $16.2 million in 2016. But if he is showing signs that that is unlikely to happen, they will need to do what’s prudent to prevent what could be a salary cap disaster.