Ex-Vikings DE Everson Griffen, Cowboys Reportedly Agree to 1-Year, $6M Contract

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorAugust 13, 2020

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - JANUARY 05: Everson Griffen #97 of the Minnesota Vikings reacts to a play in the NFC Wild Card Playoff game against the New Orleans Saints at Mercedes Benz Superdome on January 05, 2020 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Sean Gardner/Getty Images

Free-agent defensive end Everson Griffen reportedly signed with the Dallas Cowboys on Wednesday, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. ESPN's Kimberly A. Martin reported the one-year contract was worth $6 million, including $3 million in guarantees. 

Griffin, 32, had eight sacks, 41 tackles (11 for loss) and 24 quarterback hits in 15 games for the 10-6 Minnesota Vikings last year.

Thanks in part to Griffin's efforts, the Vikings finished with the league's No. 5 scoring defense and made the playoffs, where they upset the New Orleans Saints in the wild-card round before losing to the San Francisco 49ers.

The 27-10 loss to the 49ers was undoubtedly disappointing, but Griffen and the rest of the defense were largely phenomenal during a year in which the team finished fifth in adjusted sack rate, per Football Outsiders.

Griffin had been with the Vikings for his whole 10-season career after Minnesota drafted him out of USC in 2010 with the 100th overall pick.

He's been a fourth-round steal for Minnesota ever since, amassing 74.5 sacks and 176 quarterback hits. The ex-USC star also forced nine fumbles and made three Pro Bowls.

Per Over the Cap, Griffen became a free agent after meeting contractual benchmarks that would enable him to void the final three years of his deal from 2020-22. Those two were accruing six or more sacks or playing 57 percent of the Vikings' defensive snaps, and he did both.

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ESPN's Courtney Cronin confirmed the contract voiding on Feb. 20 and noted the move freed up $13 million in cap space for the Vikings.

Any chance Minnesota appeared to have of retaining him ended on Friday, March 20 when Griffin said he would be saying goodbye to the Vikings after 10 seasons.

Griffen had previously been the owner of a four-year, $57 million extension signed in 2017 that would have taken him through 2022.

Now he will join Dallas, where he'll look to build off his steady pass-rushing production. Griffen has eight or more sacks in five of his last six seasons.

Griffen joins a Cowboys team itching to return to Super Bowl contention after a disappointing 8-8 season. The team has the pieces in place on offense with quarterback Dak Prescott, running back Ezekiel Elliott and exciting receivers Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup and CeeDee Lamb.

The team could use some pass-rushing help, though, after losing Robert Quinn to free agency, and it'll get that now with Griffin, who could end up being the missing piece Dallas needs to win the NFC East.