The idea of quarterback Robert Griffin III playing in a Dallas Cowboys uniform may be nauseating for Washington fans who still idolize the signal-caller for leading their team to the postseason as a rookie, but it would be a “dream” scenario for Baylor head coach Art Briles.
Briles coached Griffin III in college and discussed the possibility Thursday at Reese's Senior Bowl practices, per Brandon George of the Dallas Morning News' SportsDay:
You could have a dream. That would probably be making it come true. That would be a great place for him. It's a great organization; being back in Texas and with the Cowboys and having a chance to get in there under Romo for three years. Not that they need to sell tickets, but it wouldn't hurt ticket sales.
This follows Hall of Fame quarterback Troy Aikman’s assertion to Sports Illustrated’s Maggie Gray on Tuesday that he believes Griffin III or Johnny Manziel will be the backup quarterback for the Cowboys in 2016.
Dallas still has Tony Romo in place, but he suffered multiple injuries in the 2015 season. The Cowboys proceeded to finish an abysmal 1-11 with Brandon Weeden, Matt Cassel and Kellen Moore under center and never threatened in a lackluster NFC East despite elevated preseason expectations.
Griffin III will only be 26 years old during the 2016 campaign and certainly has a more impressive resume than most backups in the league.
He was the Offensive Rookie of the Year and made the Pro Bowl following the 2012 campaign, when he threw for 3,200 yards and 20 touchdowns and added 815 yards and seven scores on the ground. He was a dual-threat sensation and looked primed to lead Washington to division titles for years to come.
After all, this was the same quarterback who won a Heisman Trophy at Baylor of all places (before the Bears were regular Big 12 title contenders) and made professional defenders look helpless as a rookie.
However, he tore his ACL and LCL in Washington’s playoff loss to the Seattle Seahawks and has never quite been the same. Griffin III threw 16 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in 2013 and didn’t score a single touchdown on the ground, and he was then benched in the middle of 2014 and only played nine games.
Washington turned the offense over to Kirk Cousins in 2015 and reached the playoffs with the Baylor product watching on the sidelines.
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While there are some red flags with injuries and benchings, Dallas would not be asking Griffin III to serve as the primary starter or to lead the team to a Super Bowl. He would be an insurance policy in case Romo got hurt again and one who has experienced postseason pressure and proved himself at the NFL level in the past.
Briles believes the former Heisman winner is set for a comeback, per George:
He's a guy who kind of puts his own thoughts out there. He understands perseverance. He understands dedication. He understands commitment and he's a guy that has been at an elite level for such a long time a minor setback like this certainly won't deter any of his plan of action over the next few years. He's going to end up being what he always could be and that's one of the best guys on the field.
George noted Washington “could cut Griffin as early as Feb. 8” because the fifth-year option on his contract that would have him make $16.155 million in 2016 is only guaranteed for injury. George said Washington is not “expected to absorb a cap hit of that extent for a backup.”
The Cowboys could land Griffin III for much less than that and plug him into a low-pressure situation behind Romo in 2016. It would certainly beat finishing 1-11 again if the starter suffered another injury.