3 best landing spots for Everson Griffen in NFL free agency

Several experienced free agents are still searching for a new team as training camp approaches. One of them is defensive end Everson Griffen. With 80.5 career sacks, I guarantee he still has a few tricks in his bag.

Here are three teams that should sign Everson Griffen for the 2021 season.

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Cleveland Browns offer familiarity to Everson Griffen

The Cleveland Browns would be signing Griffen to compete with newcomer Takkarist McKinley for a pass-rush specialist role as backups to Myles Garrett and Jadeveon Clowney. While McKinley offers nice potential, Griffen has already proven he can get the job done. He likely even already has a few coaches within the locker room in his corner. 

Cleveland’s staff is already very familiar with Griffen from his time with the Minnesota Vikings. Head coach Kevin Stefanski, defensive coordinator Joe Woods, and even special teams coordinator Mike Priefer were all coaches in Minnesota when Griffen was there. While Griffen is hoping to get back to his days of glory, maybe reuniting with some old pals will do the trick.

For Griffen in Cleveland, the pressure to start or play heavy snaps is gone. But the chance to play for his first Super Bowl ring remains strong. Turning 34 this next season, it may be one of the final opportunities the 11-year veteran gets.

Kansas City Chiefs signing Everson Griffen could be crucial link to SB 56

nfl free agent, everson griffen
Lions defensive end Everson Griffen warms up before the game against the Houston Texans at Ford Field on Thursday, Nov. 26, 2020. Lions

This offseason Frank Clark was apparently living the GTA lifestyle, rolling around with an Uzi and eventually getting arrested. Of course, that’s not going to be good for anybody who knows what it means for his football career. Aside from that, the Kansas City Chiefs have an awesome roster led by Patrick Mahomes and coached by Andy Reid. The pieces are in place.

The Chiefs may be stout in the middle with Chris Jones, but should Frank Clark miss any time, is Taco Charlton going to bring enough pressure off the edge? Probably not. Four years after being selected in the first round, Charlton has 11 sacks total in his career. You can talk about Griffen getting older all you want, but he’s never even gone three years without getting at least 12 sacks.

Should the Chiefs desire to ensure their pass rush group is strong all year long, a proven veteran like Everson Griffen should intrigue them. Griffen is desperate for another chance, being on a team expected to go deep into the playoffs could be all the motivation he needs to get after it.

Minnesota Vikings finally welcome back Everson Griffen

Cue the Cheers theme music.

It turns out, the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. After Everson Griffen and the Vikings failed to see eye-to-eye determining his value, the Pro Bowl pass rusher moved on. But Griffen hasn’t liked what he’s seen away from purple and gold. Don’t take it from me, here are Griffen’s specific thoughts on the matter according to Paul Allen of KFAN. (h/t SI’s Will Ragatz)

“I never should’ve left the Vikings. I f***ed up. What I tweeted was wrong. The Vikings organization took great care of me through my ups and downs and I disrespected a lot of people.”

Yeah. He effed up, but for him to publicly come to that realization speaks to the humbling process Griffen has endured since making his last Pro Bowl appearance with Minnesota. He’s come to terms with not being able to earn top dollar in a featured role anymore. He never should have tweeted his negative thoughts about Minnesota’s starting QB, but doesn’t that ultimately just bring him closer to the Viking fanbase? He’s one of us.

There’s no doubt Griffen can still make an impact. He’s capable of lining up on the edge or inside on obvious passing situations. Signing Griff would just give Co-DC Andre Patterson another experienced pass rusher to rotate in when the game calls for it.

Without their best pass rusher Danielle Hunter, the Vikings’ defense wasn’t capable of getting after QBs in 2020. They can’t afford similar inconsistencies if they hope to make a strong playoff push. Bringing in Griffen on a one-year, incentive-laden deal could take some valuable reps away from other young rushers, but he could also show them some ‘vet’ moves along the way.

Because sometimes, you want to go where everybody knows your name. Sorry, I had to.

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