Just a few short years ago, Robert Griffin III and Colin Kaepernick were considered to be two of the best young quarterbacks in the NFL. Much has changed in recent seasons, as the young signal callers look to resurrect their careers with new teams.
Griffin is a free agent for the first time in his career, having been released by the Washington Redskins after he didn’t take a snap for the entire 2015 season. Colin Kaepernick is still a member of the San Francisco 49ers, but he appears to be headed elsewhere a few months after he was benched in favor of Blaine Gabbert. Neither player has been a successful starter for two years, but teams seeking quarterback help might be willing to take a chance on one of them.
Kaepernick seems to be drawing more interest than Griffin, even though he’s still under contract with the 49ers. San Francisco could decide to release Kaepernick before his $11.9 million salary for 2016 becomes guaranteed on April 1, but the 49ers have been involved in trade discussions with multiple teams. According to multiple reports, the New York Jets, Cleveland Browns and Denver Broncos have all had discussions with the 49ers about trading for the quarterback.
Coming off a 3-13 season, Cleveland might be the most likely team to land Kaepernick. Despite the Broncos winning the Super Bowl and the Jets completing a 10-win season in 2015, Cleveland is the quarterback’s preferred destination.
Here's a sentiment not many have shared recently: Colin Kaepernick wants to play in Cleveland. Respects Hue Jackson. Browns-Niners talking.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 11, 2016
Cleveland released Johnny Manziel on Friday, and Josh McCown isn’t their long-term answer at quarterback. New head coach Hue Jackson has been a big fan of Kaepernick since he was with the Oakland Raiders in 2011 and tried to draft the quarterback out of Nevada. The Browns are expected to select a quarterback with the No.2 overall pick in this year’s draft, but their plans would almost shift if they acquire Kaepernick.
The Broncos and Jets are interested in Kaepernick, but they are also looking elsewhere to bolster the quarterback position. Denver has acquired Mark Sanchez from the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for a conditional 2017 draft pick. Sanchez could be Denver’s backup, but they might be content with having Sanchez as the starter, considering the team just won a championship with one of the worst quarterback situations in the NFL.
“He brings veteran leadership & will compete,” Broncos executive vice-president of football operations John Elway said on Twitter, regarding Sanchez. He also referred the move as the first step of the process.
The Jets could still bring back Ryan Fitzpatrick, whom they were unable to sign to a new contract before the start of free agency. New York is also looking at the possibility of signing Griffin, whom they will meet with on Friday, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Denver has reportedly had an eye on Griffin, who could become the starter ahead of Sanchez. According to The L.A. Daily News, Griffin is interested in playing for the Los Angeles Rams, who struggled to throw the ball with Nick Foles and Case Keenum at the position in 2015. Griffin could also be interested in joining the 49ers if San Francisco gets rid of Kaepernick.
— Charles Robinson (@CharlesRobinson) March 10, 2016
Griffin is just 26 years old, and hopes to find a starting job after being replaced by Kirk Cousins. Kaepernick turns 29 in November, and led the 49ers to the playoffs just two years ago.