Well, there you have it. The Cleveland Browns have found themselves a quarterback they once coveted (albeit four years ago).
The Browns have officially signed former Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III, the man they almost sold the farm for before the 2012 draft. His signing will no doubt be met with jest, as is the case any time a struggling player joins Cleveland. Still, it’s definitely a move worth noting.
The Browns aren’t shooting for the playoffs next year, so it isn’t like they’re banking on Griffin to be some sort of savior. Likewise, Griffin appeared humble in his statement after the signing, claiming he’s ready to compete and hopes Cleveland can help him as a player.
However, let’s just be clear. Even with Griffin in the fold, the Browns’ draft plans should remain unchanged. They have to take a quarterback with the No. 2 overall pick this spring.
There’s plenty of intrigue in Griffin joining Cleveland, sure. It’s tough to believe all the talent we saw during his rookie year in Washington has just vanished. Browns coach Hue Jackson is also known as a tough leader who can get the most out of his players, especially QBs. The pairing should at the very least be interesting to watch.
Still, to believe Griffin is someone you can build a team around is foolish. His red flags are too big to ignore, and assuming he can be the future at quarterback is a plan which could backfire like there’s no tomorrow.
Yes, Griffin does have talent, but he still requires a lot of work. His confidence seems to be in shambles thanks to the chaotic tenure in Washington, and the past couple years have been plagued with injuries, more than a few due to his stubborn refusal to slide when running downfield. For all intents and purposes, the idea of Griffin getting injured midway through the preseason isn’t the slightest bit lofty.
So, it only makes sense for Cleveland to keep its sights set on a quarterback with its first pick.
It sure seems as though this is still the team’s plan. There’s a reason the bulk of the Browns front office was at North Dakota State quarterback Carson Wentz‘s pro day this morning while Griffin’s signing went down. It’s the same reason they told Griffin that, if he did sign with the team, he needed to be ready to compete with whomever they select. Cleveland needs a franchise quarterback to construct its rebuild around, and Griffin is not it.
This isn’t to dump on him, though. Griffin does give the Browns a decent option as their Week 1 starter while they groom whichever rookie they select. Rookie quarterbacks have been fast-tracked in Cleveland before, and the results have been bad. With Griffin in the fold, the Browns can grab Wentz or Jared Goff and ease either along.
Is Cleveland a better team now that it signed Griffin? Probably not. Can the Browns risk passing on a rookie QB now that they have Griffin? Absolutely not.
Therefore, despite the intrigue which comes with this latest signing, Cleveland’s plans should remain the same – take a quarterback at No. 2.