Seahawks need to keep DJ Reed and let go Shaquill Griffin in 2021
By Lee Vowell
The Seattle Seahawks have a lot of free agent decisions to make in 2021.
I want to be clear here. Seahawks cornerback Shaquill Griffin is very good. But let me also be honest. Griffin has not become the consistently dominant shut down corner that every NFL team wants and needs. The top-ten highest-paid cornerbacks in the NFL all make $14 million a season or more. Does Seattle need to pay Griffin that much? No.
Again, let me be clear. I really like Shaquill Griffin. He seems to be a good dude. His brother Shaquem and he are fan favorites for 12s and they are good in the locker room. But the NFL comes down to brass tacks at times and Seattle also needs to make sure it has enough room to possibly sign Chris Carson and others. Paying Shaquill Griffin $14 million a year starting in 2021 is simply not a wise move.
Griffin missed two games in 2019. Not bad. He has missed four games so far in 2020. Not so good. A player that makes top-end money at their specific position needs to also be available to play. Griffin might be back in week 12 and he might not. But even so, Griffin has not been that good this year.
According to Pro Football Focus, Griffin is the 58th highest-graded corner this year. D.J. Reed, who is a year younger than Griffin, is the 42nd highest. But Reed has also played just four games since getting healthy. Reed has also had 3 passes defended in four games while Griffin had 7 in 6 games. So that’s a fair trade-off.
Griffin also has 34 tackles in 6 games, and the Seahawks rely on its corners for run support. That is an average of 5.7 tackles a game. Griffin grades 68.2 in rush defense, per PFF. Reed has 8.25 tackles per game in four games. Per PFF, Reed grades at 91.1 in run support. Reed also grades a bit better in pass protection (59.1 to 57.8) compared to Griffin.
My point in all this is that if Seattle is going to pay well-north of $10 million a season to a corner, it doesn’t need to be with Griffin. He might be a good player but he is also not such a game-changing player to be a deficit to the salary cap. Seattle could save money by extending Reed, letting Griffin go, and using the money they save on not re-signing Griffin in other areas.