The Cleveland Browns are rumored to be looking into Robert Griffin III as a backup if plans to trade for Colin Kaepernick can’t come to fruition, with sources saying the team is determined to land a new franchise quarterback this offseason.
The Browns hosted the former Washington Redskins quarterback for a visit this week, and though the visit was seen as the team putting in their due diligence, he could become a more viable option if trade talks with the San Francisco 49ers fail to move further.
Cleveland.com reporter Mary Kay Cabot said that Griffin’s visit shows that the Cleveland Browns are putting together backup plans in case they can’t land Kaepernick.
“They’re kicking the tires on Griffin just like they have Kaepernick over the past few weeks in an effort to find another bridge quarterback or even possible quarterback of the future. The 49ers are reportedly willing to keep Kaepernick, and the Browns have to look around. Interest in Griffin could also hasten a deal. It probably also means that they’re not sure one of the rookies will be ready to start right away and that they want to be poised to start a veteran in 2016. It might also mean that they’re ready to move on from Josh McCown, who will be 37 in July and who missed eight games last year with injuries, including a concussion, broken ribs, a shoulder injury and a broken collarbone, which landed him on injured reserve for the final five games. McCown played very well last year when healthy, and might net a draft pick. Jackson apparently likes Kaepernick better and would probably still like to have him if the Browns can work it out.”
At least one other competitor in the Robert Griffin III race could be dropping out. The New York Jets, who entered the quarterback race after failing to come to terms with an extension for Ryan Fitzpatrick, were rumored to be interested in Griffin and even brought him in for a two-day visit.
But Jets General Manager Mike Maccagnan said this week that their top goal is still re-signing Fitzpatrick, who just enjoyed the best year of his career.
“We feel we have a good situation here for Ryan, and he’s a very good fit for us,” Maccagnan told the New York Times. “Our goal is to try to get Ryan under contract.”
For the Cleveland Browns, the offseason target has always been Colin Kaepernick. After dumping Johnny Manziel and the two-year headache he created, the Browns have been engaged in serious talks with the 49ers, though the two have had a bit of trouble agreeing on a price. The 49ers are reportedly seeking a second round pick, while the Browns are offering something very close — their third-round pick, which is the first pick that round.
There is also the issue of Kaepernick’s contract. The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported that the Browns want to cut Kaepernick’s $19 million contract significantly.
“In regards to Kaepernick’s contract, the Browns will likely want to cut his current $19 million a year average by more than half. He signed a six-year extension in 2014 worth $114,000,000, including $61 million guaranteed. If he’s on a team’s roster on April 1st, his 11.9 million base salary for 2016 will be guaranteed.
“His bases in the final four years are as follows: $14.5 million in 2017, $15 million in 2018, $16.8 million in 2019 and $19 million in 2020.”
After years of subpar quarterback play and two consecutive wasted first-round draft picks for Brandon Weeden and Johnny Manziel, rumors now indicate that the Cleveland Browns are determined to find their quarterback of the future this offseason. That means they could swoop in on Robert Griffin III if it appears that a trade for Colin Kaepernick won’t come together.
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