Danny and Gallant: Why the Seahawks will pass on DE Everson Griffen
Another elite pass rusher the Seahawks could be interested in has reportedly hit the open market.
Ben Goessling, who covers the Minnesota Vikings for the Star Tribune, reported Thursday that Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen opted out of the remaining three years of his contract, which he was eligible to do since he hit multiple clauses in his deal for snaps played and sacks accrued in 2019.
Not only that, Goessling said the Seahawks could be the favorite to land the four-time Pro Bowler if he does leave Minnesota, as Griffen played collegiately at USC for current Seattle head coach Pete Carroll during his college days.
Now that Everson Griffen — who sources said has voided the final 3 years of his deal — is set to hit free agency, we'll see if he is interested in returning to the Vikings or testing his market. Keep an eye on Seattle: Griffen could reunite with Pete Carroll (his college coach)
— Ben Goessling (@GoesslingStrib) February 20, 2020
The Seahawks had just 28 sacks in the 2019 regular season and their leader in the category, Rasheem Green, had just four. Seattle will likely look to bring back Jadeveon Clowney for 2020 and beyond, but reports recently surfaced that he may be looking for a record-setting deal, which the Seahawks may not be willing to offer.
The Seahawks have one of the best cap scenarios in the NFL, even after signing tight end Greg Olsen to a one-year deal worth up to $7 million, so even if the Seahawks signed Clowney to a massive extension, they could theoretically sign Griffen, who reportedly would have cost the Vikings $13 million in 2020, as well.
So, should the Seahawks look at signing the 32-year-old who has 74.5 career sacks since entering the league in 2010? Danny O’Neil and Paul Gallant of 710 ESPN Seattle’s Danny and Gallant said Thuesday that it’s unlikely Griffen, who Goessling said wanted to be a “Viking for life” at the close of the regular season, ends up in Seattle.
“They’ve had opportunities to draft him and they didn’t, they’ve had opportunities to trade for him and they didn’t,” O’Neil said. “Everson Griffen is a really good player, but I don’t see a reunion simply because Pete has passed on it so many times and he’s probably got as much or more insight into that player as anyone else.”
The Vikings selected Griffen in the fourth round of the 2010 NFL Draft. That was also Carroll’s first draft with the Seahawks, and he’d just coached Griffen for three seasons at USC. Seattle selected three players – Russell Okung, Earl Thomas and Golden Tate – before Minnesota took Griffen with the 100th overall selection.
Since then, Griffen has been one of the best edge rushers in the NFL, and the Seahawks could very well use a player of his caliber. But in addition to Carroll’s potential “insider info” on Griffen that could deter the Seahawks from trying to sign him, Griffen has some big-time question marks due to fairly recent actions. After playing in the Vikings’ first two contests in 2018, he missed the next five games due to erratic mental health behavior.
According to a Sept. 28, 2018 story from the Star Tribune, Griffen was banned from Minnesota’s practice facility for a period of time around the same time as a series of events that included allegedly threatening to assault hotel employees, laying in the lobby of the hotel and threatening to shoot someone if he wasn’t let into his hotel room. Griffen’s wife told police he’d been having serious mental health issues and trouble sleeping and listed a few other issues Griffen has been having.
Later, Griffen reportedly tried to break in to his teammate’s home and after getting a ride from a stranger, Griffen went with police for a mental health evaluation.
The Vikings banned Griffen from the facility two days before the hotel incident until he underwent the evaluation due to violent outbursts during practice, a Vikings employee reportedly told police. Everson did undergo treatment and returned to the team for the last 10 games of the season.
“Mental health is a serious thing and I hope Everson Griffen has been able to battle some of these demons and get back on the right track,” Gallant said. “… This was about a year-and-a-half ago or so, but you wonder about bringing someone who maybe has some of those issues into this locker room right now. Because the Seahawks locker room is about as stable as you could possibly have in the league … He’s exactly the kind of player the Seahawks need and maybe they can get him at a discount, but you do have to think about that element.”
Goessling responded to a tweet from a follower who noted that there has been a lot of shifting between the Vikings and Seahawks and said that Griffen’s ties to Carroll could prove fruitful should Seattle reach out.
“(The) Carroll connection would be important; from what I’ve heard, there’s been some interest in Griffen bringing his career full-circle and playing for him,” Goessling said in his tweet. “He’d fit in that system, and Seahawks’ practice style could be good for him at this stage of his career.”
Listen to Danny and Gallant’s discussion on Griffen at this link or in the player below.
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