Is anyone desperate enough to take RG3 or Money as a starter?
The NFL’s offseason is in full-swing now and like every year, it has already been a wild ride. Players have been signing new contracts and finding new homes (or in some cases staying put). However, there are two individuals whose futures are still very much in the air, and they both play the most important position in the game; quarterback.
I’m of course talking about Robert Griffin III and Johnny Manziel. Both players have been ousted from where they have spent their entire careers up to this point (Washington and Cleveland, respectively) and are looking for new places to take snaps. Despite the promise that both young men each had at one time, both of them are now seen as desperation players to bring in.
Thankfully for them, there are some teams desperate enough to make the move.
Up first, are the San Francisco 49ers. Last season was horrendous for the Niners, due mostly to the loss of Jim Harbaugh and an exodus of starting talent. With the one year Jim Tomsula experiment failing, Jed York and the organization have decided that Chip Kelly is the best man to lead the team back to success.
Kelly, known for his offensive prowess and desire for control, was unceremoniously booted out of Philadelphia after last season. He was given full personnel control, with which he made a bevy of moves (namely letting many of the top talent on the team go elsewhere). Once “his” team failed to deliver, the Eagles organization had had enough. The 49ers hope that Kelly can look more like his first two seasons and bring wins back to the Bay Area.
One of the biggest draws of Chip Kelly is his unique offense. That offense relies heavily on good, intelligent quarterback play. With Colin Kaepernick desperately wanting out of San Francisco, it appears as though the team will be led by a different person under center for the 2016 season.
RG3 would be a pretty solid fit for Kelly’s offense. Although the past few years have not been the best for Griffin III, sometimes a change of scenery can do wonders for people. He still possesses the mobility to run Kelly’s offense the way it was run at Oregon, the offense would cut down on how much he would need to read a defense, and he has shown the ability to be a good quarterback in the past. This all likely makes him a better option to lead the team than Blaine Gabbert.
Another option would be to sign the oft-troubled “Money” Manziel. His career up to this point has been a depressing timeline of a young man who appears to struggle with addiction and staying out of trouble. However, the few times he has actually been on the field, he did show
some promise. He has always been well known for his ability to improvise on any given play, and he has improved his accuracy since coming into the league. If the 49ers truly believe that Gabbert is not the right option, Manziel could be.
Another team that is desperate for a quarterback is Manziel’s former team, the Cleveland Browns. The Browns have been looking for a franchise quarterback since the team returned to the league in 1996. New coach Hue Jackson will no doubt be chomping at the bit to bring in “his guy” to try and turn this team around.
While Manziel is obviously not an option for the Browns, Griffin III is. RG3 could come in and instantly be the best quarterback on the roster (over Josh McCown, Austin Davis, and Connor Shaw). Jackson is known for getting the most out of the quarterbacks he coaches, which means there is reason to believe he could bring Griffin III back to his rookie-season form. If he could pull that off, Cleveland would have arguably its best signal caller since returning to the league.
Now it is time for the most surprising team on this list; the Denver Broncos.
Denver is coming off of an incredible year in which the team won the Super Bowl and allowed “The Sherriff” Peyton Manning to go out on top. The defense was spectacular and the offense did just enough for the team to win games.
Everything appeared to be set for the future, too. Through the course of the 2015 season, Brock Osweiler was named the starting quarterback for a struggling Manning. In his seven starts, Osweiler showed a lot of upside, as he was even able to defeat Manning’s long-time rival Tom Brady and the Patriots. Denver was prepared for Manning’s inevitable retirement.
Then Houston came along and offered the young quarterback $72 million over four years and off to Texas he went.
How does that old quote go? “The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.”
Now that their heir apparent has left town, the Broncos must quickly find a new replacement for Manning. This puts them in odd company as a team with a Super Bowl roster who is in desperate need of a quarterback.
They could look to bring in Manziel. Though he has had his issues off the field, he could potentially offer more upside than any other quarterback on the Denver roster. Mark Sanchez would likely be more consistent, but Manziel appears to offer the higher ceiling.
An even better option for the organization would be to sign Robert Griffin III. RG3 would bring some experience and have a rejuvenated football life in a new city. Griffin III would come in and become the short-term plan, meaning he could provide solid play under center while the Broncos begin their search for the quarterback of the future.
Regardless of where RG3 and Manziel end up, it has become even more obvious than ever that quarterback play is a premium in the NFL. Without a good quarterback leading the team, it is nearly impossible to succeed in this league. This year’s free-agency period has only highlighted that fact more.
And a note to any Denver Broncos fans; sometimes you don’t know what you have, until it’s gone.