Former Pro Bowl quarterback Robert Griffin III has been in the news a lot recently. Now, it looks like he wants to be a member of the San Francisco 49ers.
“To be honest, I don’t think they have a guy on the roster that would be better situated than myself to come in and mentor the kid,” 31-year-old Griffin said on the Bleacher Report Draft Night show (h/t TMZ Sports).
Before we get into whether Robert Griffin III is a good fit, there’s a certain backdrop here. Once San Francisco traded up from the 12th pick to No. 3 overall, it became clear that the team was looking for an heir-apparent to current starter Jimmy Garoppolo. At that point, it stood to reason that the 49ers would trade the Super Bowl quarterback.
Now that the market has died down some, Jimmy GQ might remain in Northern California. With that said, there’s still a lot of moving parts here.
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Would Robert Griffin III make sense for the San Francisco 49ers?
Coming off his ninth season in the NFL and his third year with the Baltimore Ravens, RGIII is nothing more than a backup at this point in his career. Said career started out swimmingly in D.C. with the Washington Football Team. Selected No. 2 overall in 2012, he earned NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year honors.
Unfortunately, injuries that Washington’s brass mishandled at the time derailed a once-promising career. RGIII has made a total of 26 starts in the eight seasons since his rookie campaign.
Then Washington’s offensive coordinator, current San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan put his former team on blast for the handling of Griffin’s injuries. Whether that means Shanahan is willing to give RGIII a chance remains to be seen.
What we do know is that the pre-injury iteration of RGIII is somewhat similar to what we’ve seen from the talented Trey Lance on tape. A dual-threat with a cannon arm and plus-level athleticism.
The future of Jimmy Garoppolo with the San Francisco 49ers
This is another major backdrop when it comes to potentially signing RGIII. Right now, there’s no real trade market for Garoppolo. The Denver Broncos traded for Teddy Bridgewater to compete with Drew Lock for the starting job after being linked to San Francisco’s current starter.
The New England Patriots (Mac Jones) and Chicago Bears (Justin Fields) added first-round quarterbacks in the 2021 NFL Draft. Both were linked to Garoppolo. As of now, the only two teams that might show interest in Garoppolo could be the Houston Texans and RGIII’s former Washington squad in the nation’s capital.
All of this comes at a time when some believe Lance could be ready to start Week 1. Shanahan seemed to indicate that there would be at least some version of a training camp battle between the rookie and Garoppolo. That could create some major issues moving forward.
All the while, San Francisco is set to pay Garoppolo $26.38 million against the cap in 2021. It’s a number that could be used for an immediate upgrade as the 49ers look to rebound from last season’s disappointing six-win performance and return to Super Bowl contention.
If the San Francisco 49ers were to move off Garoppolo, they’d have only Josh Rosen, Nate Sudfeld and Josh Johnson on the roster behind Lance. That’s a less-than-ideal scenario. It also makes RGIII a possibility should a divorce with Jimmy GQ become inevitable.