Is it inevitable that the Seahawks use franchise tag on CB Shaquill Griffin?

Oct 16, 2020, 3:49 PM

Seahawks CB Shaquill Griffin...

The Seahawks have a choice to make with Pro Bowl CB Shaquill Griffin in the offseason. (Getty)


The Seahawks will have a big decision to make this offseason as it pertains to one of their best defensive players.

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A Pro Bowler a year ago, cornerback Shaquill Griffin is on the last year of his rookie contract and could be in line for a big payday on the open market. But will he get that far?

When discussing a potential Seahawks contract extension with running back Chris Carson with 710 ESPN Seattle’s Bob, Dave and Moore on Tuesday, “The Professor” John Clayton brought up Griffin.

“I still think – and they won’t like me saying this – but one of the two guys is going to get franchised because the franchise number is probably going to dip a little bit (from this season to next). It’s either going to be Shaq Griffin or it’s going to be Chris Carson,” Clayton said.

Jim Moore has been critical of Griffin’s status as a No. 1 cornerback and was surprised to hear Clayton suggest that a franchise tag could be in play for the fourth-year cornerback. In 2020, the franchise tag for a cornerback was worth over $16 million.

“He just doesn’t look like a franchise tag-kind of a guy to me,” he said. “I think he’s playing reasonably well, but I don’t look at him and go ‘yeah, that’s a guy you’ve got to keep for sure.'”

Clayton said if you’re the Seahawks, it’s almost a no-brainer based on what is likely going to happen with team money for the 2021 season.

“What are you going to do to replace him? … When I say the franchise tag, remember, I’m saying it with the franchise tag being different than any year since the flat-cap year of 2012 when the average franchise tag went down 20%, and now we’re talking about a $20 million-plus decrease in the salary cap,” Clayton said. “So you’re getting a franchise tag, but it’s only a franchise tag by name only because it’s probably only going to be in the neighborhood of $11.5 to $12 million.”

In a normal year in terms of cap dollars, Clayton said he’d be less likely to use that franchise tag on Griffin.

“What I look at with him is the franchise guys, they’re considered to be one of the top five corners in the league. Is he top five? Absolutely not,” he said. “But he’s in that group of six to 18 or so you can justify transitioning him … In the open market, he might be able to get $14 million in a normal year. He probably won’t be able to get that next year. And you don’t want to get rid of players who have gone to the Pro Bowl and have meant so much to a winning franchise.”

Someone who knows a thing or two about defensive backs is former Seahawks safety and coach Paul Moyer, who is a member of the Seahawks Radio broadcast that airs during pregame, halftime and after Seahawks games. When talking to Bob, Dave and Moore on Thursday, Moyer first said that Griffin is one of the defense’s MVPs to start the season.

“I think Shaq has played pretty well,” he said. “He’s aggressive and at times he’s going to get beat with his aggressiveness, but he’s out there and he’s battling receivers and there’s times where it’s flat lockout time.”

As far as using a franchise tag on the young cornerback, Moyer said he’d rather a long-term deal get done.

“You try not to get him into that franchise (tag) because that’s not a win-win for either side,” he said. “It’s so difficult to put a number on a player that you watch every day and say ‘that guy is going to make $14 million a year?’ That’s just what the game calls for today.”

Like Clayton noted on Tuesday, Moyer thinks the Seahawks need to keep Griffin for at least next season.

“He’s a very good young cornerback, he’s the best one we have on our team. How do you replace that? Who do you replace him with?” Moyer said. “I think you could structure a contract, though, where it makes sense for the Seahawks. You franchise someone at $14 million, that hurts. I think he can probably make it where the salary cap doesn’t hurt you that much.”

Moyer only sees one scenario where the Seahawks move on from Griffin after this season, and he thinks it’s unlikely.

“He’s a Pro Bowler, he has (two interceptions) this year, I think you’re going to see more,” he said. “And you’ve got to have good cornerbacks unless you can find something out in free agency who you think is better than him, then that’s the only thing. And if you do, that’s probably going to cost even more than you’re going to pay him.”

Listen to Moyer’s discussion with Bob, Dave and Moore at this link or in the player below.

Follow 710 ESPN Seattle’s Bob, Dave and Moore on Twitter.

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