By Jeffrey Swindoll
Robert Griffin III suffered yet another injury on Sunday, ruling him out for several months just two weeks into the regular season. Backup quarterback Kirk Cousins, who was drafted in the same draft by the Redskins after Griffin, will start for what may very well be the majority of the season.
Griffin is marketed, treated and widely considered to be a franchise quarterback ever since being a first round pick in the draft. Cousins was a fourth round pick to be a backup quarterback. Griffin is signed to a four-year $21.12 million deal; Cousins is signed to a four-year $2.57 million deal.
Griffin, who is now incapable of playing due to injury for the third time in his NFL career, is getting paid millions of dollars every year by the Redskins. Kirk Cousins is making nowhere near the amount that Griffin makes, while still playing a significant amount of time in a starting role. At this point, Cousins has proven he is more than capable of playing quarterback in the NFL.
The Redskins have a problem on their hands. At some point, they will have to choose one over the other, in terms of who is the first string quarterback and will remain a part of the Redskins in the long run. How many more times can Griffin get hurt, and not have his job with Redskins in jeopardy if Cousins manages to take the Redskins to the playoffs this season?
When the Packers drafted Aaron Rodgers in 2005, Brett Favre was the starter. The tension rose each season over when Rodgers would break into the starting role or trade/sign with another team. Rodgers would show flashes of the superstar he would soon become today in preseason games or rare regular season instances before the Packers let go of Favre.
It became apparent there was no space on the roster for Rodgers and Favre to be on it at the same time for long. The same occurred when Joe Montana and Steve Young both played for the San Francisco 49ers.
However, the main difference here is that Griffin and Cousins are not in a case of old and young battling for a spot. Both came out of the same draft (2012), a year ESPN dubbed the “Year of the Quarterback.” Both supposedly still have their prime years ahead.
Griffin is a player that many see superior to many other quarterbacks, specifically because of his mix of athleticism and throwing accuracy. Cousins, so far, has proven he can hang with some of the best in the NFL with his decision making and on-demand consistency.
Teams like the Jacksonville Jaguars, Miami Dolphins or St. Louis Rams have unstable quarterback situations right now. At least one of those teams will eye these two as players who can fill the void at the quarterback position right now. Surely, NFL scouts are looking to see what Cousins does with 14 games left in the regular season with a 1-1 football team.
The Redskins cannot afford, physically and figuratively, to have Cousins and Griffin a part of the same roster for the entirety of that four year deal both of them signed earlier this year. Only time will tell how legitimate (or not) Cousins really is as a starter; his credibility remains to be seen. Teams have seen what Griffin can do in the NFL after his past two vastly different seasons. But if Cousins proves his chops as a true starting quarterback in this league, someone has got to go for the Redskins.