Bumpus: If Shaquill Griffin leaves, Seahawks have what they need at CB
The 2020 NFL season wraps up this weekend, but for the 30 teams not involved, including the Seahawks, they’re likely looking ahead to the upcoming free agency period as well as the NFL Draft.
Seattle’s in a bit of a bind entering the offseason as the team has 24 players hitting unrestricted free agency with little available cap room at the moment.
Many of those players set to enter free agency are starters, including cornerback Shaquill Griffin, who will be available on the market after starting at outside cornerback for the Seahawks the last four seasons.
Griffin has started since entering the league as a third-round pick in 2017, but will he be a key piece in Seattle’s defense again in 2021? Former NFL receiver Michael Bumpus joined 710 ESPN Seattle’s Wyman and Bob this week and explained why he thinks Griffin will be wearing another uniform next season.
Bumpus believes Griffin will be seeking a deal potentially worth more than $14 million a year and he doesn’t think the Seahawks will be able to match that dollar figure.
“I think that there’s going to be a team that can afford to do that for him. I just think the Hawks are in a spot where they just can’t do it,” he said. “Your hands are tied, you just don’t have that much money to play with. And because of that, there’s going to be guys you’d like to have back on the team like Shaq Griffin who probably aren’t going to be here.”
Bumpus said the only way he sees a Griffin-Seahawks reunion happening is if Griffin takes less money from the team in order to stay in Seattle, which is something he doesn’t think the 25-year-old cornerback should do.
Even though Bumpus thinks Griffin will ask for and receive close to top dollar when it comes to cornerback salaries, he doesn’t think Griffin is “elite.”
“I think he is a good corner, a very good corner. I don’t think he gets his hands on the football enough,” Bumpus said. “I think if he got maybe four or five interceptions this year we might be having a different conversation about how important he is to this team. I think he can lock down a side. I think he’s not a guy that people aren’t afraid to throw at, but he’s fast enough to always be around the football.”
Griffin had three interceptions in 2020, which was a career high (he has six total in four years as a pro). The lack of takeaways isn’t the main reason why Bumpus is comfortable with Griffin leaving the Seahawks, though.
“D.J. Reed is part of the reason why I’m OK with Shaq going,” he said.
Reed, a 2018 fifth-round pick by the San Francisco 49ers, was claimed by the Seahawks after the 49ers waived him due to a pectoral injury. San Francisco didn’t think he’d be able to play in 2020 but he joined the Seahawks and was playing by Week 8, which happened to be when Seattle and the 49ers faced off for the first of two times. Reed started the game at nickel corner and promptly recorded an interception on San Francisco’s first drive.
Due to injuries and Reed’s play, he became the Seahawks’ second outside cornerback opposite Griffin despite being shorter and lacking the length – he stands 5 foot 9 with 31-inch arms – that Seattle typically looks for in its corners.
Reed wound up shining, recording two interceptions, recovering two fumbles and breaking up seven passes in 10 games (eight starts). He also established himself as a special teams weapon.
“We saw what D.J. Reed did when he was on the field and he made an immediate impact on defense, returning the football,” Bumpus said. “So he brings more value to this team because he does a bit more.”
Bumpus sees Reed as a guy who plays hard, has a chip on his shoulder and “has a twitch that you don’t really see out of a lot of players.”
“Shaquill Griffin is fast, (but) D.J. Reed is fast and quick,” he said. “There’s a burst to his game and a confidence to his game, and I think Shaq is confident too. Because D.J. Reed is here, that’s why I feel so comfortable with (letting Griffin walk) because he deserves a chance.”
Listen to the full discussion and hear Bumpus’ thoughts on new Seahawks offensive coordinator Shane Waldron at this link or in the player below.