What happened to Robert Griffin III after release from Washington? Browns, Ravens offer journeyman roles

Robert Griffin III’s fall from grace in Washington was swift, and things have never quite gotten back on the tracks for Griffin.

It’s easy to remember RG3’s remarkable first season when he won Rookie of the Year. It’s also easy to remember the knee injuries that might have set Griffin on a path toward journeyman status much sooner than anyone anticipated. Since Griffin lost his spot in Washington, though, he’s been mostly out of the spotlight before a Week 12 start in 2020 for the Ravens at the Steelers.

To fill in the gaps, this is a look at what Griffin’s been up to since Washington released him in 2016.

2016: Cleveland Browns

Griffin was released by Washington on March 7, 2016, and it didn’t take long for him to find a new home. He signed a two-year, $15-million deal with the Browns on March 24. In August, Hue Jackson named Griffin Cleveland’s starting quarterback.

In his Browns debut, Griffin struggled to the tune of 12-of-26 passing with an interception, along with five rushes for 37 yards. He heard his shoulder that day, though, and went on Injured Reserve.

Griffin returned in Week 14 and started the season’s final four games. Only one of those was a win, a 20-17 victory over the Chargers in Week 16, and he nearly beat the Steelers in Week 17 with a season-high two passing TDs. Griffin finished the season with 886 passing yards, two passing touchdowns, three interceptions, 190 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns. 

The Browns released Griffin on March 10, 2017, less than a year after signing him, in order to avoid paying him a roster bonus due the next day.

2017: Turned down offers

Griffin chose not to sign with a team in 2017, despite telling ESPN that he had offers from both the Cardinals and Ravens. Arizona didn’t suit Griffin, he said, because it already had an established quarterback in Carson Palmer. And Baltimore offered Griffin too near to the preseason for Griffin to feel like he’d be ready to go.

“I think it’s more so because I wasn’t able to get into the offseason and work with a team,” Griffin said at the time. “I had interest with in the offseason, it just wasn’t the right fit. And I had to make that decision for myself and say if I don’t accept that offer there’s a chance I don’t play football this season.”

2018: Baltimore Ravens Year 1

Griffin signed a one-year contract with the Ravens on April 4, 2018, evidently better timing than when Baltimore had offered him the year before. He was signing on with Joe Flacco already entrenched as the starter and Lamar Jackson soon to be taken in the 2018 NFL Draft.

In 2018, Griffin appeared in three games for brief spells. He completed 2-of-4 passes for 21 yards in a Week 13 win over the Falcons. Griffin didn’t attempt a run.

2019: Baltimore Ravens Year 2

Flacco was out of town in 2019, making Jackson the starter and Griffin the backup. Jackson went on to win the 2019 NFL MVP, which meant Griffin didn’t play much, but he got some opportunities in mop-up duty.

When the Ravens blew out Miami in Week 1, Griffin completed all six of his passes for 55 yards and a touchdown. Griffin also got a Week 17 start against the Steelers as Baltimore rested Jackson. RG3 led the Ravens to a 28-10 win, completing 11-of-21 passes for 96 yards and an interception while rushing eight times for 50 yards. 

The Ravens also ran a play in Week 10 of 2019 in which Jackson, Griffin and Mark Ingram were all in the backfield, marking what was probably the first time three Heisman Trophy winners lined up together in an NFL backfield. 

2020: Baltimore Ravens Year 3

Entering Week 12 of 2020, Griffin had seen limited duty in three games, but that would change. Lamar Jackson tested positive for COVID-19, meaning he wouldn’t play against the 10-0 Steelers in a game rescheduled three times due to a coronavirus outbreak on the Ravens.

Griffin was named the starter to play in Pittsburgh in a game that eventually was moved to Wednesday afternoon. RG3 remains the last quarterback to beat the Steelers after they missed the 2019 postseason.

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