OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- The Baltimore Ravens opened their 2018 NFL Draft preview news conference April 4 with the surprising announcement that they have signed veteran quarterback Robert Griffin III to a one-year deal.
"He came in last week, worked out, had a real good workout and we were able to come to an agreement late yesterday," general manager Ozzie Newsome said.
The Ravens had made overtures to Griffin before the 2017 season and stayed in touch with the former No. 2-overall pick, bringing him in for a workout recently and agreeing to the deal.
"Very excited about it," head coach John Harbaugh said. "I know I'm excited; I know the coaches are excited. Robert came in and had a really good workout. He looked good throwing the ball. He was in very good shape. Obviously, his personality, he's a confident guy. He's a very talented quarterback that's had a lot of success in this league early on. So we're excited about it and felt like we need a No. 2 quarterback."
Griffin hasn't played in the NFL since 2016, when he played five games with the Cleveland Browns. A Pro Bowler as a rookie in 2012 with the Washington Redskins, injuries marred his first few seasons before new head coach Jay Gruden chose Kirk Cousins to start over Griffin in 2015.
With last year's
preseason sensation Josh Woodrum
the only other quarterback on the Ravens' roster, Griffin would seem to have a leg up on him in pursuit of being Joe Flacco's backup in 2018. Of course, the Ravens could still make further moves at the position. One possibility would be spending a draft pick on a quarterback. Some analysts and pundits have suggested the team could use the 16th pick of the first round on a signal caller.
Does adding Griffin prevent the Ravens from considering a quarterback in the first round?
"From my perspective, no," Newsome said. "No. We will grade the players, set the board and if there's a quarterback that we feel we could pick at any of our picks, we'll do it."
That proclamation comes less than two months after Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti told reporters he didn't view the quarterback position as a priority.
"We've got bigger fish to fry, I guess," Bisciotti said at his end of season news conference in February. "We're a long way off to have to worry about Joe."
But with a top-heavy quarterback class in 2018, Ravens leadership wouldn't rule out the possibility of going in that direction. According to Newsome, that has more to do with the players who are available than it does with feeling the need to find Flacco's successor.
"I don't know if we've paid more attention to it this year," Newsome said. "I think the quality of the number of guys may be more, which allows us to make sure that we do our homework. But I don't know that we've paid more attention to quarterbacks this year than we have in years past."
UPDATE ON RECEIVER PURSUIT: While Newsome acknowledged the team is pursuing and will continue to pursue free-agent receivers, he offered no update on restricted free agents the team has hosted for visits, like the New Orleans Saints' Willie Snead and Chicago Bears' Cameron Meredith.
"We're in the market," Newsome said. "We're in the market to acquire players in every aspect. We're in the market."
Similarly, Newsome wouldn't bite when asked whether the Ravens had reached out to the New York Giants about wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. or to the New England Patriots about tight end Rob Gronkowski, both of whom have been rumored to be available via a trade this offseason.
"Well, I don't think in 22 years I've ever announced whether I've reached out to someone about some player, and I don't think I'm starting today," Newsome said.
One pass catcher the Ravens would comment on was Maryland wide receiver DJ Moore, who is considered to be an option for them perhaps as early as the 16th overall pick in the NFL Draft.
"DJ's a productive player; he's a good player," director of college scouting Joe Hortiz said. "It was an impressive year this year knowing he played with three different quarterbacks. That's a difficult thing to adjust to, and he was productive throughout the season and consistent. So he was helping those guys out."
Hortiz said the team's opinion of Moore has remained the same since the end of his Maryland career despite quality performances during pre-draft events.
"In terms of the Combine, I don't think anything changed," Hortiz said. "I think he performed well at the Combine, and he performed well again at his Pro Day. So he's holding his water and he's doing a good job at each level in terms of getting ready for the draft."
CAMP FLACCO?: Newsome wouldn't directly suggest that Flacco should host new receivers Michael Crabtree and John Brown for an unofficial gathering this offseason, but he praised the benefits of such a possibility.
"I think that's more of a coaching question," Newsome said. "But I think anytime players can get together and start to work on their craft, starting to mesh, just starting to communicate with each other and understand each other, I mean, I think the value of John [Harbaugh] and mine's relationship is that we communicate all the time. And we have a good feel for [each other]. Same thing has been with [assistant general manager] Eric [DeCosta] and with Joe [Hortiz]. So that should flow down to the players, too. You spend a lot of time with each other, working with each other, then when you get into situations in a game and a practice you know how a person's going to react."
Brown has already offered to come to Flacco's house for such an event after Harbaugh had stated he believed it would be helpful.
Photo Credit: Ed Sheahin/PressBox