RENTON — This week Shaquem Griffin didn’t have to wait until Saturday to find out he would be play in the Seahawks’ game Sunday.
The Seahawks announced Friday that Griffin had been promoted to the 53-player roster, filling an open spot that remained after waiving, earlier in the week, of linebacker D’Andre Walker. The Seahawks face the Dolphins in Miami on Sunday.
The promotion comes on the heels of Griffin playing 17 snaps in Sunday’s 38-31 win over Dallas, including 10 on the final drive when he had a pass breakup and a quarterback hit as the Seahawks kept the Cowboys out of the end zone.
That came after Griffin had been elevated off the practice squad last Saturday. Thanks to new rules this year, players can be elevated off the practice squad twice each season and returned without going through waivers.
Griffin and safety Ryan Neal were returned to the practice squad Monday. Neal was signed to the 53 on Wednesday. Griffin was protected on the practice squad Tuesday, meaning no other team could sign him. That also gave them the option to again elevate him Saturday (though that would have been the last time they could have done so, as players can be elevated only twice in a season).
The Seahawks for are giving Griffin a spot on the regular roster, where he will provide linebacker depth with Jordyn Brooks ruled out for Sunday’s game. Brooks started last week for Bruce Irvin, who is out for the year because of a knee injury.
Coach Pete Carroll said Cody Barton will start at linebacker. But Barton is nursing a quad injury and with the length of Brooks’ absence unclear the team needs another body at linebacker.
But Griffin’s main contribution figures to be in the role he filled for much of the final drive as a rush end — of Griffin’s 17 snaps in the game, 12 came as a rusher, according to Pro Football Focus. The other five came in coverage.
“He was hauling butt all over the field,” Carroll said Monday. “We played him in a unique situation that he really handled well. He did a nice job rushing the passer in his other (opportunities) that he had. So I’m looking forward to him continuing to contribute. I was really fired up about his play.”
The promotion also gives Griffin a significant raise.
Griffin was making $12,000 per week on the practice squad but will receive a contract in which he should make at least $44,117 per week, the prorated veteran minimum for a player with two accrued seasons.
Being signed to the 53, of course, is no long-term guarantee of anything, as players can be waived at any time.
But for Griffin, it signifies a resurgence after he was waived at the cutdown to 53 on Sept. 5.
Griffin spoke to media this week via Zoom and said he was surprised to be waived. He had offers from three teams to join their practice squads before deciding to stay in Seattle, which allowed him to also keep playing with twin brother Shaquill, the Seahawks’ starter at left cornerback.
“We discussed it, but I turned all that down,” Griffin said this week. “I was like, ‘No way.’ My best decision is to be with my brother, stay here and then fight to stay up.”
Griffin won that fight Friday.
Is Randall next?
Signing Griffin to the 53 means the Seahawks have the ability to elevate two players off the practice squad for Sunday’s game.
One player who seems likely is safety Damarious Randall, a 2015 first-round draft pick of the Packers who was signed Wednesday.
“Really smart football player who has played a lot of ball,” Carroll said of Randall, who would give them depth at safety. The Seahawks will be without Jamal Adams and possibly his backup, Lano Hill, meaning Neal could step in to a starting role.
The Seahawks have elevated players off the practice squad for each of the first three games.
All three players elevated the past two weeks ended up signing with the 53-player roster the following week — Neal and Griffin this week and defensive tackle Anthony Rush following the New England game.
The elevation rule was put in place as part of the league’s collective-bargaining agreement approved in March.
Practice-squad rosters were also expanded from 10 to 12 as part of the new CBA but expanded to 16 as part of COVID-19 protocols designed to give teams more roster flexibility.
Griffin’s elevation gives the Seahawks an opening on the 16-player practice squad.