Griffin spent the last nine years with the Titans, making two Pro Bowls—2008 and 2010. He played in 15 games this past year, making 101 combined tackles and intercepting one pass.
"I want to thank Griff for his time here with the organization," said head coach Mike Mularkey in the team's press release. "He was a leader who showed up to work every day in an effort to get better, and I appreciated his effort both on and off the field for this team. He touched a lot of people in this community and in our organization. I want to wish him the best, and I hope he will always be remembered as a great Titan."
Griffin rolled with the punches upon learning the news:
I knew one day my time would come and I cherished every minute of it. It's been real Tennessee✌. Thanks for everything. #nextchapter— Michael Griffin (@MikeGriff33) February 9, 2016
"You shed a tear here or there because this a new chapter in my life," Griffin later said, via John Glennon of the Tennessean.
This is largely a cost-savings measure for Tennessee. According to NFL Trade Rumors, cutting Griffin will free up $6.5 million in cap space.
While his skills are diminishing, Griffin should be able to find a new home this offseason. Both the Tampa Bay Times' Greg Auman and Bleacher Report's Ian Wharton can envision him playing in the Sunshine State:
Titans release safety Michael Griffin. He's 31, but another player with history w/ new Bucs coaches -- worked with Brett Maxie in Tennessee.— Greg Auman (@gregauman) February 9, 2016
I need to go back and see but I do think he (Griffin) is a quality option for Miami if they can't snag Weddle https://t.co/zwUo7xXjYX— Ian Wharton (@NFLFilmStudy) February 9, 2016
For teams that strike out on premier free agents such as Eric Berry, Eric Weddle and Reggie Nelson, Griffin would be a solid backup plan given his experience and leadership capabilities.
Meanwhile, this move allows the Titans to get younger at free safety, whether Marqueston Huff (23) replaces Griffin or general manager Jon Robinson ventures down a different avenue. Tennessee is still in rebuilding mode, so cutting a 31-year-old veteran with one year remaining on his deal makes sense for the long term.