Griffin alluded to the impending news earlier in the day with a tweet:
We have to face the challenges life presents and never back down. Keep Fighting!— Robert Griffin III (@RGIII) March 7, 2016
Griffin also offered his thanks in a subsequent message after the news broke:
It was a blessing guys. I just want to say thank you. pic.twitter.com/wzHbsRMlhL— Robert Griffin III (@RGIII) March 7, 2016
Master Tesfatsion of the Washington Post noted the cap implications:
The former Pro Bowler did not make an appearance in 2015, serving as a backup to Kirk Cousins. He has played in only 22 games since suffering an ACL tear during Washington's 2012 wild-card matchup against the Seattle Seahawks.
ESPN analyst and Washington fan Matthew Berry offered his take:
This is ultimately the best move for both WSH & RG3. But still...this is a sad day. It should have ended better. https://t.co/kfkyio8BWa— Matthew Berry (@MatthewBerryTMR) March 7, 2016
Griffin's knee injury may forever have altered his career trajectory and Washington's franchise outlook. The former Baylor star had one of the greatest rookie seasons in history in 2012, throwing for 3,200 yards and 20 touchdowns against five interceptions. Utilizing the read-option action to freeze defenses, Griffin also added 815 rushing yards and seven scores while pushing Washington to a division championship.
Tim Kelly commented on Griffin's downfall following his inaugural campaign:
Robert Griffin III's rookie year was so special. Interested to see what he can do with another chance.— Tim Kelly (@TimKellySports) March 7, 2016
CBSSports.com's Joel Corry pointed out how Griffin's release makes history once again:
RG3 will be the 1st player that had a 5th year option picked up under rookie wage scale cut before his 5th year salary became fully GTD.— Joel Corry (@corryjoel) March 7, 2016
Daniel Shiferaw of CSNMidAtlantic.com expressed his disappointment over how things turned out:
I genuinely thought Robert Griffin III had a shot to be the biggest sports star D.C. had ever seen. Still incredible it's come to this.— Daniel Shiferaw (@dshif) March 7, 2016
This is a solid GIF characterization of the Griffin-Washington relationship:
While his career in Washington ended in disappointment, he's not expected to have any trouble finding a job. Mike Freeman of Bleacher Report reported "at least 10 teams" have interest. As such, speculation has already run rampant about where Griffin may be headed:
Chiefs make a lot of sense for Robert Griffin III to relaunch career— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) March 7, 2016
We did a ton of studies on RG3 when he was coming out in Philly. Andy LOVED him. Be shocked if KC is not in the mix— John Middlekauff (@JohnMiddlekauff) March 7, 2016
If I am RG3 the 2 places I would want to go and attempt to save my career are: SF or KC. Don't see any other great fits— John Middlekauff (@JohnMiddlekauff) March 7, 2016
Have long commented on how, with Kaepernick's future not in SF, RG3 would make a lot of sense for Chip Kelly.— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) March 7, 2016
Knowing what I know about Robert Griffin as a QB, and what Bill O'Brien looks for in the position, I'd be stunned if the Texans signed him.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) March 7, 2016
Still, Bart Hubbuch of the New York Post pointed out Griffin will need to salvage his reputation:
His pro coaches and teammates seem to have universally disliked him. That's a big red flag. https://t.co/CkosOWTHpE— Bart Hubbuch (@BartHubbuch) March 7, 2016
Responding to Hubbuch's point, though, was ESPN's Bomani Jones with at least one testimonial from a teammate:
As it stands, no one's quite sure what to make of Griffin at this point. He looked like a franchise savior in 2012, did fine given the circumstances in 2013 and was largely a mess in 2014. That's not typically the preferred trajectory for a franchise quarterback.
However, he is only 26 years old. There is still more than enough time to repair his career, and there may be no player in football more in need of a change of scenery. The relationship between Griffin and Washington grew borderline toxic over the last two years, and both parties share some of the blame. Perhaps his release will be the wake-up call Griffin needs to return to Pro Bowl form.
Or maybe we'll look back on this day in a couple of years as the beginning of the end.
Follow Tyler Conway (@jtylerconway) on Twitter