Happy Holiday week everyone. I’m on vacation this week, but it won’t keep me from doing my WWW for you all. Before I get to that, however, I’m going to tell you quickly about Patreon. Those who know already know. We’ve given away Terry Pluto books, we’ve printed limited edition t-shirts that are on their way soon, and we will be giving away an access to Baseball Prospectus soon. You can be a part of all of this and support WFNY. Infomercial over!
Talking about the Browns’ strategy with RG3…
This week, Bode discussed RG3 and announced that he was done with the quarterback. That was at least partially the result of conversation between us behind the scenes. While I tend to agree with the sentiment regarding RG3 and how little he’s shown in his four games as Cleveland Browns starter, I get really upset that Bode and I don’t agree on the conclusion regarding strategy. In the end, while I think my confidence levels in Robert Griffin III are about the same as Bode’s, I just can’t understand the suggested strategy of cutting bait.
Let’s start with the cost. RG3 made about $5 million this season and is due somewhere north of $9 million if he’s kept around next year. The Browns could save a good chunk of change by cutting RG3, but his two-year average is about $7.5 million putting him around 25 in terms of NFL quarterback compensation. Andy Dalton and Ryan Fitzpatrick are just ahead of him while Chase Daniel and Jared Goff are just behind him. None of this is to say that RG3 is worth anything, because he hasn’t been yet, but if Sashi Brown and Hue Jackson feel like the experiment should continue for some reason, the money is far far far from prohibitive by any rational NFL standard.
Speaking of Hue Jackson, there’s this idea that Hue and RG3 have had so much time together that what we’re seeing is the best they can do. I don’t buy that for a second. If you look at the overall output of Hue Jackson’s year and discount the misery and think there could be a brighter future with more time, I don’t understand why a guy with RG3’s physical abilities couldn’t also progress with more time working with Hue and staff. I’m not saying the zero passing touchdowns are a good indicator, but I’m simply saying that there’s a chance that the best version of RG3 could still be yet to come as the entire team works in Hue Jackson’s system together for more than four or five games. This belief that Hue Jackson could have a future but that it definitely doesn’t include RG3 feels very self-assured for people who aren’t nearly as close to the situation as Hue Jackson and Sashi Brown.
Another point that I think is important – which dovetails with the financial component – is simply a measure of asset value. RG3 had a certain value when the Browns signed him and presumably he hasn’t done anything to raise that value, but other things have changed. Houston paid dearly for Brock Osweiler. Minnesota traded for Sam Bradford when Teddy Bridgewater got hurt. The Denver Broncos drafted Paxton Lynch, but he hasn’t played much at all. San Francisco is doing whatever they’re doing with Kaepernick. Let’s not pretend like RG3 doesn’t have value in a league where scarcity is more prevalent than damn good starting caliber NFL quarterbacks.
This idea that the Browns can just snap their fingers and do better than RG3 is pretty myopic considering the famous Browns QB jersey. Yes, Cody Kessler has looked better than RG3 in some ways this season, but so what? So many NFL teams come to find out they need all their quarterbacks and more that they don’t even have on their rosters. RG3 is an overpaid backup for sure, but not by that much compared to what teams have done to try and compete right now. He has value in the league and to throw him out would be a silly proposition.
Say what you want about RG3, but he’s got an ability to make a play or two per game. It’s probably not good enough in most weeks to win the game by himself, but there’s no doubting he has more ability than Connor Shaw, for example. He’s a better bet than many of the other guys the Browns have run out there since 1999. You can debate whether he’s replacement level compared to Kelly Holcomb, Tim Couch, Jeff Garcia, Coly McCoy or any number of other quarterbacks, but you can’t hold any of those guys up as an impossible standard. I’d be surprised if RG3 ended up being better than many of those guys, but not that shocked.
For those reasons, I disagree with Bode completely even as I think I agree with most of his sentiment. I think there’s probably more reason to keep playing him and potentially keep him through the second year of his deal.
Weekly moment of soccer zen…
It’s not how you start, but this is a hell of a way to start!
Coheed and Cambria – Faithfully
I don’t love Journey, but I love this song done by Claudio Sanchez of Coheed and Cambria.