(ABC)–Despite Robert Griffin III’s history of injuries and moves in and out of the lineup, the Washington Redskins plan to exercise the quarterback’s fifth-year contract option for the 2016 season.
New general manager Scot McCloughan opened his pre-draft news conference Monday by saying the Redskins will inform the NFL ahead of the deadline that they will pick up their option for the 2012 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, which is worth about $16 million.
“He’s a good football player. He’s got good tape out there,” McCloughan said. “Everyone knows what he did in (2012).”
After being taken by Washington with the No. 2 overall pick in that year’s draft – thanks to a trade with the St. Louis Rams – the Heisman Trophy winner threw for 3,200 yards and 20 touchdowns and ran for 815 yards and another seven scores, helping win the NFC East.
But Griffin tore ligaments in his knee in a playoff game against Seattle that season. Griffin also dislocated his ankle last season, missing six weeks. And he was benched late in the 2013 season by then-coach Mike Shanahan, and again last season by coach Jay Gruden.
Gruden, often publicly critical of Griffin’s play, said in February that the player known as RG3 would head into next season as the starting quarterback.
The Redskins have three quarterbacks signed for 2015: Griffin, Kirk Cousins and Colt McCoy. All started at times last season, when Washington went 4-12.
Asked whether the contract decision on Griffin will change the Redskins’ approach to the draft, which begins Thursday with Washington holding the No. 5 overall choice, McCloughan replied: “It does not impact our draft process, whatsoever. If we get to the fifth pick and the best player’s a quarterback, we’re taking a quarterback.”
McCloughan added: “We like the three we have, but we’re not going to pass on a good football player. There’s no reason to.”
As for whether the Redskins have received overtures from other teams about trading for Cousins, McCloughan said: “We have not gotten any offers – official offers – no. The thing I like about Kirk, and same with Colt and with Robert, is they’re young quarterbacks.
“You’ve got to understand that. I know everybody thinks they’re in the NFL, they’re going into their fourth season. But they’re still young, especially (going into) the second year of this new system.”
He said the Redskins would listen to offers and “definitely consider” any that are “a win-win for the organization.”
Then McCloughan said: “You can’t give up on those guys too early.”
He was finishing his answer about Cousins, but he might as well have been speaking about Griffin.
On the topic of contract extension talks for two key players entering their final contract year, left tackle Trent Williams and linebacker Ryan Kerrigan, McCloughan said there are ongoing discussions, but “nothing substantial.”