*People Lose Their Minds Over RGIII Signing, But He’s Essentially a ‘Lottery Ticket’ *
The cursing emojis and mocking memes were out in full force yesterday.
After General Manager Ozzie Newsome announced the Ravens will sign quarterback Robert Griffin III, a segment of fans griped about the quarterback’s injury history, his different playing style from Joe Flacco and the Ravens using their little cap space available on him.
However, there’s something being overlooked:
The Ravens have nothing to lose by signing RGIII.
They essentially purchased an inexpensive “lottery ticket,” as former NFL coach Eric Mangini says in the “Speak for Yourself” video below.
Griffin got a one-year deal reportedly worth $1 million. He’ll compete for the backup job with Josh Woodrum and perhaps a rookie this summer, and if he isn’t good enough, he won’t make the team. Nothing lost. The Ravens need camp arms anyway.
If Griffin impresses, he makes the 53-man roster and the Ravens have an experienced and uber-athletic quarterback for a cheap $1 million. He doesn’t hurt the compensatory pick formula.
Head Coach John Harbaugh was right when he called the signing a “steal.”
Atlanta Falcons backup quarterback Matt Schaub is a $4.5 million cap hit. The Washington Redskins will take a $3.7 million cap hit for Colt McCoy. Chase Daniel, Chad Henne and Drew Stanton are all in the $3 million range. The Ravens didn’t have that much to spend on a backup, but still got what they need for a cheaper price.
“The Ravens have been looking for an inexpensive but experienced insurance policy at quarterback this offseason, and Griffin fits that profile as well as anyone remaining in free agency,” wrote ESPN.
What are the other options out there? Matt Cassel just signed with the Detroit Lions yesterday, so he’s out. There’s Mark Sanchez, Austin Davis and Derek Anderson. Ryan Mallett, who last year cost double Griffin’s salary, didn’t inspire confidence in training camp and the preseason. He threw five interceptions in a single practice.
“Colin Kaepernick would've been another option because he was out of the league last season, like Griffin,” ESPN added. “But Kaepernick carries more baggage: He is currently involved in a collusion lawsuit against the NFL, and last summer his girlfriend posted a tweet deemed ‘racist’ by Hall of Fame linebacker Ray Lewis, who was featured with Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti in the post.
“All of a sudden, the addition of Griffin, 28, isn't so off the wall when looking at the current quarterback landscape.”
The Ravens made it clear that signing Griffin has no effect on their draft plans. They could still select a quarterback from the talented 2018 class. Assistant General Manager Eric DeCosta says eight or nine quarterbacks in this class could become starters by the end of their rookie contracts.
“Even if the Ravens draft a quarterback, they would still need a fallback plan if the rookie struggles in training camp and the preseason, proving he's not ready to be the backup right away,” ESPN wrote. “This is why Baltimore needed to sign someone like Griffin.”
Griffin has a different playing style than Flacco, who mostly stays in the pocket while Griffin makes plays with his feet. Both are strong-armed signal callers. Tyrod Taylor also had a different style than Flacco and backed him up for four years.
At the end of the day, the Ravens got a former No. 2-overall pick who has tremendous upside and is hungry to show he still belongs in the NFL after a year off.
“RGIII is a lottery ticket,” said Mangini. “The other day, the Mega Millions was $500 million. I bought a lottery ticket. I know the odds are it’s not going to hit, but it’s the same thing with RGIII and Johnny Manziel. You bring them in. You don’t pay them very much. It’s a 90-man roster during training camp. If it hits, great. It’s tremendous upside. And you’ll do that sometimes with guys coming off major injuries. If it doesn’t hit, you haven’t lost anything.”
Ravens to Be Questioned in Kaepernick Collusion Grievance
Harbaugh and Newsome will be questioned under oath today as part of Kaepernick’s collusion grievance against the league, according to ProFootballTalk.com’s Mike Florio.
“Legal proceedings of this nature are confidential and cannot be commented on publicly,” a Ravens spokesperson told The Baltimore Sun.
The news comes on the heels of the Ravens announcing they will sign Griffin after working him out last week. Baltimore considered signing both Griffin and Kaepernick last year when Flacco was dealing with a back injury during training camp. Neither was signed at the time and Flacco’s health improved to the point that he eventually started all 16 games.
“Newsome and Harbaugh will be asked plenty of questions about why the team deemed Griffin to be a better option than Kaepernick,” Florio wrote. “Those answers will then become part of the broader collection of evidence that eventually will be massaged by Kaepernick’s lawyers into support for his claim that the NFL’s teams colluded to keep him unemployed because of his role at the forefront of the protests that occurred during the national anthem before games.”
Michael Campanaro to Visit Tennessee Titans
Ravens wide receiver/punt returner Michael Campanaro will meet with the Tennessee Titans about a possible deal, according to The Sun’s Jeff Zrebiec. Per the report, Campanaro’s agent has been in contact with Titans officials for the past couple weeks.
Newsome said last month during John Brown’s introductory press conference that Campanaro and Mike Wallace, both unrestricted free agents, could return to the Ravens. But Wallace eventually signed with the Philadelphia Eagles, and Campanaro appears primed to leave also.
The Ravens have been intent on remaking their wide receiver room after the team finished No. 29 in passing offense last year.
Baltimore selected Campanaro in the seventh round of the 2014 NFL Draft. He struggled with injuries during his four-year NFL career, but managed to stay mostly healthy last year and caught 19 passes for 173 yards and one touchdown in 13 games. He also led the AFC in punt-return average (10.8) and returned one for a touchdown.
“Campanaro has attracted some free-agent interest as a slot receiver and as a return man,” wrote Zrebiec. “The Ravens have remained in contract with Campanaro about a potential return even as they’ve overhauled their receiving group this offseason. Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome wasn’t specifically asked about Campanaro during Wednesday’s predraft news conference. However, he did say the team continues to look at adding to its receiving group before the draft.”
Offensive Lineman Luke Bowanko Signs With Patriots
The New England Patriots signed unrestricted free agent offensive lineman Luke Bowanko, the team announced last night.
The Ravens acquired Bowanko from the Jacksonville Jaguars last year for a 2019 seventh-round pick and he played in every game last season.
The signing isn’t expected to yield a compensatory pick for the Ravens.