BY PAUL MANCANO—Things are a mess down in the nation’s capital. The Redskins are 3-8, DeSean Jackson is using social media to blame his teammates like the mature 27 year old man he is, and Jay Gruden is on shaky ground—not because he’s a bad coach (which he is) but because the team is still owned by Daniel Snyder. Oh, and the legislative body of the most powerful country in the world still hates them. So yeah, in the words of Larry David, things are pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty good.
To make things better, the tales of D.C.’s crumbling team can often be seen crowding SportsCenter’s sidebar. For whatever reason, a cloud of drama has followed quarterback Robert Griffin III since even before he was overvalued by a desperate franchise and taken second in the 2012 NFL Draft. Now, despite his team’s irrelevance, RG3’s struggles have taken center stage. The latest wrinkle: he has been replaced by one of the Browns’ innumerable burnouts, Colt McCoy.
The nation’s best guessers have been brought in to try to determine RG3’s next destination. And one of the names they’ve picked out of their magic hats is that of the Philadelphia Eagles.
At 9-3, the Eagles sit atop the NFC East, and look primed to make a playoff push, despite spotty quarterback play. Mark Sanchez is taking the snaps in place of an injured Nick Foles, though neither has played particularly well. While the Eagles try to ride out the season with Sanchez, the future at the quarterback position is hazy. Matters are complicated by the fact that Foles is on the second-to-last year of his rookie contract, and would need to be extended by May if the Birds’ front office doesn’t want him to reach free agency in 2016. Sanchez, meanwhile, is on a one-year contract, and could skip town following the season in search of a starting gig.
With both quarterbacks’ futures up in the air, could the Eagles be interested in bringing in Griffin? Let’s examine.
WHY THEY WILL
Ever since his arrival in Philadelphia, Chip Kelly has been seen as the “read-option” coach. Ignorant of Kelly’s ability to mold an offense around personnel, the nation’s pundits have assumed the head coach has always desired a mobile quarterback to run his system. Two years later, the man who has been under center for the majority of the team’s games ran a 5.14 40-yard dash at the combine.
However, there is no denying that a running quarterback would give Kelly flexibility that he has not enjoyed since Michael Vick started at the beginning of 2013. Griffin’s ability to run with a football is well documented. Although he’s been hampered by lower-body injuries in the last few years, the third-year man out of Baylor still has incredible speed for his position. A Chip Kelly-RG3 union is enough to every football analysts’ mouth water.
Griffin’s mechanics may have regressed during his time in Washington, but Chip has shown he can (almost always) get his quarterback to run his offense efficiently, regardless of poor mechanics (see: Nick Foles). And who knows? Maybe he can fix whatever’s ailing Griffin.
Plus, if the Eagles trade for him after the ’Skins extend his contract, he would only be on the books through the 2016 season. If he fails, the damage is minimal, assuming he’s got a capable backup, not just Matt Barkley.
Speed + Arm Strength + Chip Kelly’s offense = All the upside
WHY THEY WON’T
Well, for starters, have you seen Griffin play recently?
The man has simply forgotten how to play the position. Football minds much greater than mine have reinforced what the average fan has seen with the naked eye: RG3 is not a good quarterback.
Whatever magic he conjured during his rookie season is lost now. Broken down and mentally crippled, Griffin is a shell of the self we saw just two years ago. His play has deteriorated much the same way Vick’s has, which is tragic considering he’s 10 years younger than Vick.
It’s unlikely that Griffin would hold up in a 16-game season, and while Kelly has done a nice job shuffling bodies in and out behind Jason Kelce, the Eagles need a long-term solution at the most important position if they want to take the jump to the next level. It doesn’t make much sense to trade away a future draft pick for a guy who is almost certainly not going to be a stalwart at quarterback.
Oh yeah, and we’ve already got a quarterback.
Foles may not be a world-beater, but he’s pretty good right now. He’s still young, and the sample size of his play is still small. Until the opportunity to find a truly better, more reliable quarterback presents itself (perhaps in the draft or in free agency), the front office seems committed to #9, as it should.
It just doesn’t make sense to mortgage your future and invite a media circus for a guy who looks broken down at 24. Foles may not bring us a Lombardi Trophy, but he’s got a better shot at it than Griffin.
The national media can cook up whatever ridiculous scenarios it wishes; it won’t affect the jobs of Howie Roseman and the rest of the Eagles brass. As for our job, we just have to pray Marcus Mariota bombs the rest of the season and falls into Chip’s lap late in the first round.