Report: Ex-Seahawks CB Shaquill Griffin Agrees to 3-Year, $40M Jaguars Contract

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMarch 16, 2021

Seattle Seahawks cornerback Shaquill Griffin (26) in action against the San Francisco 49ers during an NFL football game, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Jennifer Stewart)
Jennifer Stewart/Associated Press

Veteran cornerback Shaquill Griffin agreed to a three-year, $40 million deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.

Shaquem Griffin reacted to his brother's move:

shaquem griffin @Shaquemgriffin

Going home https://t.co/bQCQfHuG7j

Griffin's value took a bit of a hit in 2020 after he reached his first career Pro Bowl a year earlier.

The 2017 third-round draft pick was limited to 12 games by a hamstring injury. His production (58 tackles, three interceptions and 12 passes defended) was solid, but Pro Football Focus noted his coverage grade fell from 76.0 to 63.6.

Upon the conclusion of the Seattle Seahawks' season, Griffin signaled his desire to stay with the team.

"They know I want to be here, so at this point I'm just praying on it, hoping for the best, hopefully everything works out," he told reporters.

Head coach Pete Carroll echoed a similar sentiment:

Gregg Bell @gbellseattle

Pete Carroll: "We've got some work to do at the corner spots, because of free agency. Would love to keep Shaquill (Griffin)." Already said he wants Quinton Dunbar back. Really likes D.J. Reed, as he should. #Seahawks

Russell Wilson earns every penny of his four-year, $140 million contract, but paying him a $35 million annual salary continually leaves general manager John Schneider in a bind financially.

In addition to Griffin, Schneider had to ponder what to do with K.J. Wright, Quinton Dunbar and Chris Carson, among others.

ESPN's Brady Henderson wrote in January that Griffin posed the most difficult question of the team's free agents, noting how Jamal Adams is due for an extension with his rookie deal expiring next offseason. The Seattle Times' Bob Condotta posited that Seattle may have to choose between Dunbar or Griffin, even on the assumption Dunbar would have to settle for much less money after having appeared in six games.

Griffin also benefited from the fact that he was one of the best cornerbacks available in a relatively weak year at the position. You could make a case for any one or all of William Jackson III, Richard Sherman or Desmond King II being a better investment, but the gap on Griffin wasn't significant. And without an elite corner available, the cost to sign those who did hit free agency probably climbed a bit.

Add all of the factors together, and it spelled bad news for the Seahawks. Finding a replacement for Griffin won't be easy because of the team's aforementioned cap squeeze.

And for as much as Griffin wanted to remain in the Pacific Northwest, doing so would have required him to settle for a lesser contract.

It's possible the effects of Griffin's hamstring injury lingered well after he got back on the field in November. With a full offseason to recuperate, he could bounce back nicely in 2021.

The danger for the Jaguars is that they are banking on Griffin replicating his Pro Bowl season, which was sandwiched between three generally nondescript years. Perhaps 2019 wasn't indicative of his true performance level, and he's merely a solid defender rather than an upper-tier one.

In the event that happens, this contract could look regrettable.