Does Robert Griffin III Make Sense for the Buffalo Bills?
In a recent article for ESPN Insider, senior writer Mike Sando listed the Buffalo Bills as the top fit for Robert Griffin III. He believes that “Bringing in Griffin as insurance and/or to push Taylor for the starting job could make sense for the Bills. Backup E.J. Manuel‘s career appears to have run its course in Buffalo.” On the surface, this makes some sense, but RG III would be a terrible fit for Buffalo.
The last thing the Bills need to do is to bring in a backup quarterback who receives more attention from the media than their incumbent starter. That is not a healthy situation for the locker room, or for Tyrod Taylor. The Bills have had their fair share of quarterback controversies since Jim Kelly retired. They do not need to create another one when they have alternative options in the draft and free agency.
Most of the players available as per Spotrac.com’s list of free agent quarterbacks are not very good but what else would you expect from the backup quarterback market? Teams that have decent players at this position rarely let them hit free agency.
Griffin may have more upside than the other free agents, but the Bills do not necessarily need upside out of their backup. They would be better served by having a more reliable veteran who Tyrod can learn from such as Matt Flynn or Matt Moore. In the draft, they can also look into younger options who might need some development. This would give the Bills some depth if Taylor regresses next year or if he has a spectacular season and they are unable to come to an agreement on a long-term contract.
Buffalo has two quarterbacks on their roster whose contracts expire at the end of next season. They will likely add at least one player to the mix before the start of training camp. The Bills would like to move on from E.J. Manuel as a backup but they have very limited cap space and a number of other off-season priorities. Manuel’s contract is fully guaranteed so cutting him will not free up any cap space.
After his performance against Jacksonville last year, most Bills fans would probably prefer anyone in the backup role instead of Manuel. The best option for Buffalo would be to sign or draft a quarterback and let them compete with E.J. hoping that they beat him out for second string.
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RG III might be an improvement over Manuel on the field but that does not mean that he is a good fit for the Bills organization as a whole. The Bills need to show that they are committed to giving Tyrod Taylor a fair shot at being their franchise quarterback. Bringing in a player who gets as much attention as Griffin would not be beneficial to that process.
To his credit, Griffin did an admiral job this past season by not becoming a distraction after Kirk Cousins was named the starter. He had to act this way if he ever wanted to get a shot with another team. That does not mean that he won’t be a distraction with his next team. One would have to assume that RG III wants to start again in the NFL. Who’s to say that he will not try to undermine Tyrod in order to try to get another opportunity?
Buffalo might make sense as a destination for RG III since Greg Roman’s offense lends itself well to his skill set, but Griffin does not make sense for the Bills. When considering the media attention he might command, the role of the backup quarterback and the Bills history of adding to their own misery at this vital position it seems like the risks associated with signing Robert Griffin III are not worth the potential rewards for Buffalo. That is why when it comes to RG III the Bills should just say no.