Moore: Why Seahawks should not talk contract with Shaquill Griffin in 2020
Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com reported this week that the Seahawks are trying to work out a contract extension for left cornerback Shaquill Griffin.
The timing is great for Griffin. In the last two days, the cornerback market has surged to unprecedented heights. Less than 24 hours after Tre’Davious White of the Bills signed an extension averaging $17.25 million a year, Jalen Ramsey of the Rams blew past him with a deal averaging $21 million a year.
Why the salary-cap strapped Rams decided to surpass the top cornerback salary by $4 million a year is anyone’s guess. Seems to me that Ramsey would have been all right with having the No. 1 cornerback salary at $18 million a year, but what do I know?
I know this – whatever negotiating Seahawks general manager John Schneider is doing with Griffin, he should stop it right now. Yes, the market is skyrocketing, and you can certainly make a case for paying their best cornerback before he becomes a free agent at the end of the year.
If he has a sensational season, Griffin will no doubt want $18 million a year, if not $20 million, maybe even $22 million. You could likely get him on a team-friendlier deal now in spite of Ramsey’s contract.
But that’s a risk I’d take if I were the Seahawks’ general manager. The 2020 salary cap of $198 million is expected to go down to $175 million in 2021. Would that make it tougher to pay Griffin what he wants? Yep, but wouldn’t he have to understand that a reduced salary cap would have to lower his asking price?
But forget all of that speculation. Let’s look at the here and now. According to the advanced metrics and the fact that Griffin was a Pro Bowl alternate, he had a good season.
I’d argue that being a Pro Bowl alternate is not the greatest accomplishment in the world. If I were Griffin’s agent, I don’t even know if I’d bring that up to Schneider. If you’re a Pro Bowl alternate, you’re not worth $18 million to $20 million a year. To my way of thinking, you have to be an All-Pro to get that kind of deal.
If I’m Schneider, I’m letting the season play out for one big reason, and I’ll get to the smaller reasons later. The one big reason, and I’ll put it in all caps for emphasis: GRIFFIN HAS GONE 30 GAMES IN A ROW WITHOUT AN INTERCEPTION!
He had two interceptions in the second game of the 2018 season at Chicago and hasn’t had one since. Also, in 48 career games with the Seahawks, he has had only three interceptions. I get it, interceptions aren’t the only measuring stick of a cornerback, but if you’re going to give Griffin a monster deal, I’d like to see him pick up the pace with picks. A playmaker is worth more than a play-stopper. Griffin, to this point in his career, is much more of a play-stopper than a playmaker.
If you’re a play-stopper and want $10 million a year, OK. But I suspect Griffin will ask for more than that.
The smaller reasons why you shouldn’t pay Griffin now – the Seahawks have other players entering the final year of their contracts just like Griffin. Chris Carson and Quinton Dunbar are the biggest names on that list. I would also think that Schneider might want to extend Quandre Diggs before he enters the last year of his contract in 2021. The Seahawks’ defense came up with 16 takeaways in the five games that Diggs played for Seattle last year, and at this point, I’d rather pay Diggs next year than Griffin this year.
So hold your horses, John! If you’ve started to negotiate with Griffin’s agent, tell him you’ve had a change of heart. Tell him you like his client but you want to see how the 2020 season plays out and will get back to him then.