The Drive with Jody Oehler

The Drive with Jody Oehler

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Should the Cardinals Sign Everson Griffen?

Hold on, the Cardinals offseason may not be done yet.

After an ESPN report linking the Arizona Cardinals to free agent pass rusher Everson Griffen the Cardinals might climb even higher in the offseason power rankings.

The 32 year old pass rusher has yet to find a new home after he decided to void the final three years of his contract in Minnesota. Griffen entered the league as a fourth round pick out of USC in 2010. He became a full time starter in 2014 and in the six seasons since he became a starter, he has put up eight or more sacks five out of those six years.

The only down year he had in 2018 when he fought a very public mental health battle. Griffen admitted to living in a sober living house during the season and sought and received intensive mental health treatment after a series of escalating incidents with the Vikings and his teammates. He has also detailed how those issues have been resolved and per his agent, were not the result of a clinical diagnosis of a mental health disorder but due to having unprocessed trauma throughout his life.

Griffen has 57 sacks over the last six seasons compared to Jadeveon Clowney who has just 32 over the same time period.

Meanwhile the Cardinals have approximately $9 million in cap space available but also have an entire unsigned draft class that will gobble up much of that space. They would have to get creative in order to fit any additional details under their cap.

But Griffen would be worth those cap gymnastics.

The team paid DeVondre Campbell and Devon Kennard $6 million each for next season to bolster their defense. If you could trade both players for one year of Griffen, you would absolutely take that deal, even if it cost a few more million bucks. The lesson, as we are learning in all sports, is its often smarter to wait until deeper in the offseason to sign a majority of your free agents.

Cost is exactly what will determine the seriousness of Griffen becoming a Cardinal. If he voided his remaining deal to cash in on a gold rush of new money, he's likely going to be waiting a while longer. If he's now looking to find a good place to rebuild his market value, there's no better place to do that than opposite Chandler Jones. Plus, Griffen grew up in Avondale and might be willing to give a one year, hometown discount.

He'd immediately bolster the last remaining question mark on defense: pass rushing depth. Devon Kennard had 7 sacks last year but three of those came in week 1 against the Cardinals. With Griffen, Kennard would become the team's third pass rusher and push Haason Reddick to the roster bubble/inactive list where his play likely belongs.

Griffen would also show the Cardinals are going for it this year. A one year deal for $10-$14 million would stretch them financially but might be exactly what they need to get into the playoffs and even more in the NFC West.

If the money is right, the timing is right for Griffen and the planets align for Steve Keim once again, Griffen could be the last big piece for an already impressive Cardinals offseason. If they can pull it off, all those glowing offseason lists would have to scramble to put the Cardinals even higher.

Hell, even I would write one with the Cardinals on top.

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