Subway has to do a better job of picking pitchmen. In a matter of weeks this summer, two public faces of the sandwich franchise, Jared Fogle and Robert Griffin III — though for completely different reasons — have endured dramatic falls from grace.
Washington effectively mortgaged their future to select Griffin out of Baylor with the second pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, giving up three first-rounders and a second-rounder for a QB who has become the poster boy for dysfunction and wasted talent in the NFL. But it didn't start out that way. Griffin had as good of a start to an NFL career as anyone can remember.
In his first game he made NFL history by becoming the first rookie to be named NFC Offensive Player of the Week for his 320-yard, two-touchdown performance against the Saints. A few weeks later, he threw for 200 yards and four TDs, ran for 84 yards, and posted a perfect 158.3 passer rating, the first rookie to post such sparkling numbers in a single game.
Griffin was amazing. Throwing. Running. Winning. He was a fantasy football dynamo and the savior of the once-storied, now downtrodden Washington football franchise that had missed the playoffs for five years and was known more for its racially insensitive name than it was for the team on the field. With one of the most hated owners in professional sports in Daniel Snyder running the team into the ground, Washington fans were starved.
Then Griffin rode into town with an arm that had the promise of bringing in a new and exciting football future, and even won Rookie of the Year over Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson. But the euphoria couldn't last.
Griffin missed a game after getting blasted in the knee against the Ravens late in the season. He was back for the playoffs, but it was revealed that Dr. James Andrews, a noted knee specialist, never cleared Griffin to return (despite coach Mike Shanahan stating otherwise). In the Wild Card loss to the Seahawks, RG3 re-injured the knee in one of the most unsightly examples of a team and a coach putting a player in harm's way on a bad wheel.
Griffin would never be the same. Washington football would never be the same.
The 2013 season ended with a 3-13 record, no playoffs, and an inoperable feud with Shanahan. RG3 was shut down the last three games of the season and Kirk Cousins was named the starter. Shanahan was fired, but even with new coach Jay Gruden, Griffin struggled. He got hurt again, carted off the field early in 2014 with a dislocated ankle, and missed seven weeks. When he returned, he continued to slump and was replaced by Colt McCoy. He got the job back after McCoy was hurt, but finished the season 2-5 as QB1.
Now in 2015, after suffering a concussion in a preseason game, Griffin was benched and Cousins was named the full-time starter before training camp has even broken. Published reports indicate the coaching staff and front office are done with RG3 and want to trade him, though ownership remains committed to keeping him in Washington. More dysfunction.
There was even a mini-controversy when Griffin appeared to "like" an Instagram post critical of the team after his demotion. RG3 later said it was an intern's mistake. Earlier this year, Griffin engaged in a social media war with a critical fan.
So now the question is what will Washington do with their once-bright star QB? Indications are that Griffin might end up as the team's No. 3 behind Cousins and McCoy. If the teams releases him, it would count $6.7 million against the cap. Trading him could also prove difficult because of the $16 million option the team picked up for 2016.
But anything can happen in the NFL and with so many teams desperate for a QB that played the way Griffin once did in 2012, moving him might not be so far fetched. But a trading partner could also be getting damaged goods in the form of a player with a long history of injuries and erratic play.
That being said, here are five teams that might be crazy enough to trade for Griffin:
New York Jets
Starting QB Geno Smith isn't very good. He's also out until October with a broken jaw suffered in a locker room fight with a now former teammate. Every circus needs a sideshow.
The Bad News Bills and bombastic head coach Rex Ryan offer the NFL's version of a halfway house, giving troubled players from around the league an opportunity at a fresh start. The Bills also recently named Tyrod Taylor their starter despite him totaling zero passes for zero yards and three kneel downs in 2014.
HBO cameras are following the team's every move during this summer's season of Hard Knocks, and two things are clear: J.J. Watt is an absolute beast, and neither QB Brian Hoyer or Ryan Mallett are very good at throwing footballs to other humans.
St. Louis Rams
The Rams trolled Washington last year by sending out the six players the team obtained for the Griffin pick for the coin flip. Nick Foles is now the Rams starter and nobody has ever been very confident in Foles. The team may eventually move to Los Angeles and, well, who would say no to that pairing.
Yes, Blake Bortles seems poised to be the quarterback of the immediate future in Jacksonville. But this is Jacksonville we're talking about, and nothing seems to work out for the Jags. They are so bad, they may eventually get booted to London. Maybe they'll take Griffin with them.
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