Seahawks cornerback Shaquill Griffin is a free agent after this season.
Jalen Ramsey just got paid a lot of money. On Wednesday the Los Angeles Rams announced they had signed cornerback Ramsey to a five-year extension worth $105 million. This means Jalen Ramsey will make $21 million a season on average. So what does this mean for Seattle Seahawks cornerback Shaquill Griffin who is a free agent after the 2020 season?
According to Pro Football Focus, Griffin was better than Ramsey last year and more versatile. Griffin graded at 77.0 in coverage in 2019 and Ramsey was 68.7. So that isn’t close and the point of a cornerback is to cover people. Ramsey was slightly better in run defense (77.6 to Griffin’s 75.4). But Griffin was used five times in blitzes and Ramsey zero. Griffin can do more than Ramsey.
And interceptions are basically meaningless. Griffin didn’t have one in 2019 but Ramsey only had one.
Shaquill Griffin is an unrestricted free agent after this season. Fortunately for the Seahawks, the salary cap will only be about $175 million next year as it is deflated due to all the issues with trying to hold games during a pandemic. If Griffin doesn’t sign an extension then the Seahawks could place the franchise tag on him next year and it would be less than the $21 million Ramsey will be getting.
But what about the long-term? Both Ramsey and Griffin will be good for many years to come. Griffin and Ramsey are both 25 years old, with Griffin being a few months younger. Seattle will need Griffin more than just next year. They will need him to be a shutdown corner for the next four seasons.
What Seahawks should do with Shaquill Griffin
So Seattle needs to ink Griffin to a long-term deal. If I were Shaquill Griffin, I would be asking for Ramsey-type money. Currently, in 2021, the Seahawks have $31 million in cap space. In 2022, Seattle has $139 million. Seattle could afford Griffin even at $21 million starting in 2022. But paying a cornerback that much is not something I expect general manager John Schneider to do.
What I do expect to happen if Griffin hasn’t signed an extension by the time free agency starts in 2021 is for the Seahawks to franchise tag Griffin. This isn’t something Seattle ever does but surely they see the value of Griffin. This at least would allow Seattle time to work out a new deal because letting Griffin walk is not a good option.