Redskins Bench RGIII, Name Cousins As Starting QB

Robert Griffin III

Robert Griffin III has had a tumultuous career in the NFL since being selected in the first round of the 2012 draft. After a good rookie season, injuries and poor performances have caused him to struggle. Now, his career as the Redskins’ starting quarterback may be over.

Head coach Jay Gruden has said Kirk Cousins will be the team’s quarterback “for 2015 moving forward” shortly after initially naming Cousins the starter for Week 1.  In true coachspeak, Gruden deflected the blame away from Griffin’s performance, saying “it’s not what Robert Griffin III didn’t do, so much as what Cousins did do.” What Cousins did was get benched for third-string quarterback Colt McCoy after taking over as starter following an RGIII injury last season. In the preseason this year, Cousins has has 40 completions in 53 attempts, 443 yards, 2 touchdowns and an interception. Gruden added that Cousins is the best quarterback on the team’s roster and has “earned the right” to start.

Could there be more to the quarterback change than Cousins earning the starting nod through his performance, as Gruden says? Conspiracy theorists could point out that Griffin has a clause in his contract that guarantees him a $16.1 million salary next season if he gets injured this year. If the team removes him as the starter, there’s less of a chance of him getting injured and the injury-guaranteed salary taking effect. Another way for the team to avoid potentially paying out the $16 million in 2016 would be to trade Griffin — but it would be hard to find a team willing to take him — or cut him, in which case the Redskins would owe Griffin just his $3.269 million base salary for this season.

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