- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Robert Griffin III repeatedly has said he can’t wait to get to work as the Washington Redskins’ quarterback. He finally did Wednesday morning after signing a fully guaranteed four-year contract worth $21.12 million.

Griffin can begin supporting his megamarketing power with on-field accomplishments. During the two days he stayed home this week while his fellow rookies worked at Redskins Park, Griffin released a new adidas commercial and tweeted a picture lauding his new Nissan.

On Wednesday morning, though, his rookie season began.

“Well people. … It’s Time to go to Work!!! Off the unemployment line and oh yea HTTR!!!!” Griffin wrote on Twitter shortly before 8 a.m. HTTR stands for Hail to the Redskins.

The rookie wage scale keeps Griffin’s salary cap number manageable for the life of the contract.

His $13.8 million signing bonus is prorated over four years. By comparison, left tackle Trent Williams, who was Washington’s last first-round pick before the rookie scale was implemented last season, counts more than that in 2012 alone.

Griffin, the second-overall pick, will count $3.83 million against the salary cap in 2012; $4.79 million in 2013; $5.75 million in 2014; and $6.71 million in 2015. That’s a heck of a bargain if Griffin reaches his potential.

Griffin’s camp won a minor victory in its contract impasse with the team by keeping offset language out of the deal.

If the Redskins released him after his third season — an unforeseen scenario in which Griffin is a colossal bust — the team still would have to pay him the amount guaranteed to him in the fourth year of the deal.

If there were offset language, though, the Redskins would have to pay Griffin only the difference between the amount guaranteed in the fourth year and whatever a new team agreed to pay him for that season.

The Redskins expect that to be a moot point. They traded first-round picks in 2012, 2013 and 2014 and their 2012 second-rounder to move up from the sixth pick in the draft to select Griffin. Coach Mike Shanahan named the reigning Heisman Trophy winner his starting quarterback May 6, only 10 days after drafting him.

The Redskins hold a fifth-year option on the deal. They must choose to exercise it after Griffin’s third season.

Griffin is the first of the top eight picks to sign. He was the first of that group to face a deadline to report to camp. Tampa Bay’s rookies, including seventh-overall pick Mark Barron, reported Wednesday.

Griffin’s agreement preceded the Redskins’ afternoon signing of offensive lineman Josh LeRibeus, their third-round pick. All of Washington’s draft picks have signed.

Washington’s veterans don’t report until Wednesday, July 25, and the first full-squad practice isn’t until July 26. Shanahan is easing rookies into their work this week with film review, weight-lifting and team meetings to discuss playbook installation.

• Rich Campbell can be reached at rcampbell@washingtontimes.com.

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