Could a Minnesota Vikings veteran, now a free agent, find a new home in Seattle? Could a former Husky? Let’s address those two questions.
Could Everson Griffen be a target for the Seahawks?
It was no secret that Everson Griffen, a 10-year veteran with the Vikings, might become a free agent because of an opt-out clause in his contract.
That happened Thursday, as ESPN reported Griffen has indeed opted out of the last three years of his contract.
That helps the cap-strapped Vikings clear out $13 million for 2020, and Griffen was expected to be cut if he didn’t opt out.
Opting out allows Griffen to hit free agency next month unless he agrees to a new, and obviously cheaper, deal with the Vikings.
If Griffen does hit the market, the Seahawks are one team rumored to possibly have interest. Griffen played at USC under coach Pete Carroll, and he entered the NFL in 2010 the same year Carroll came to Seattle. Carroll has obviously never been shy to bring his former college players to the Seahawks.
Just in case you’re wondering, the two appear to have a good relationship. Griffen raved about Carroll in a 2016 article in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, calling Carroll “a great coach.”
Is there a stronger basis for the rumors than Carroll formerly coaching Griffen? We’ll find out.
But Seattle has obvious pass-rush needs, and while Griffen — who will turn 33 in December — wouldn’t necessarily be a long-term fix, he had eight sacks last season, twice as many as anyone on the Seahawks.
Could the Seahawks afford Griffen and Jadeveon Clowney?
That might not be easy, especially if Clowney really commands the $20-plus million a season many expect. Pro Football Focus this week projected Clowney to re-sign with the Seahawks at $21 million per season with $66 million guaranteed.
The Seahawks have lots of cap room — roughly $50 million. That number will shrink once the Greg Olsen signing becomes official, but it could also increase if expected cuts, such as releasing tight end Ed Dickson, happen. The Seahawks are expected to be as active in free agency as they’ve been at any time in the Carroll/John Schneider era.
The failed Ziggy Ansah experience last season could linger in the minds of Seahawks fans who might not want to count on a defensive end hitting his mid-30s.
Though Ansah was coming off an injury that contributed to him still being available to sign in May, Griffen was healthy last season, playing 15 games and 848 snaps. That’s far more than any Seahawks defensive lineman (Clowney led Seattle’s linemen with 605), and Griffen played 77% or more of the snaps in 13 regular-season games and 86% or more in two playoff games (he had 1½ sacks in the wild-card playoff win over the Saints).
If nothing else, Griffen adds to the crowd of available players in what might be the Seahawks’ biggest area of need after they had just 28 sacks last season, which tied for the second-fewest in the NFL (ahead of only Miami’s 23).
Could Danny Shelton return to Seattle?
The Seahawks also have questions at defensive tackle as Jarran Reed and Al Woods are scheduled to become free agents.
Reed is obviously the biggest question there. He’s undoubtedly hoping to hit it as rich as possible as he’s entering free agency for the first time in his career at 27 after starting full-time for the Seahawks the last three seasons.
Reed has indicated via social media that a projected one-year, $10 million salary wouldn’t be enough, which mostly shows he has no plans to settle for any sort of hometown discount.
Woods turns 33 next month, and while he is no longer under suspension, he’d probably, at best, be viewed as a depth option for the Seahawks in 2020.
Rosenhaus also represents Olsen, Malik McDowell and a few other former Seahawks, such as receiver Sidney Rice. Jeff Sperbeck was Shelton’s previous agent.
The switch comes as Shelton has a lot more marketability than a year ago. Shelton, 26, spent the 2018 season with the Patriots as they won the Super Bowl. He started just one game and played 324 snaps. He re-signed with the Patriots on a contract for the minimum salary.
That proved to be a bargain for New England as Shelton bounced back to start 14 games and play 492 snaps while making a career-high three sacks as well as a career-high 61 tackles (Reed had two sacks and 27 tackles in 479 snaps).
Spotrac.com projects Shelton — a Browns first-round pick out of UW in 2015 — to be worth $4.7 million, which would be by far the biggest payday of his career (he’s made $5.7 million in five years, according to OvertheCap.com).
That’s good for Shelton and maybe makes him option for the Seahawks depending on how things evolve with Reed.