Eagles Great Lobbying for Philadelphia to Sign Pro Bowl DE

Everson Griffen

Getty Everson Griffen smiles before a Vikings playoff game.

With the Jaguars and Yannick Ngakoue mired in an old-school standoff, the Eagles may be forced to look elsewhere for more pass-rushing support.

There are sensible options out there in free agency, guys like Vinny Curry and Ezekiel Ansah and Jadeveon Clowney are the perennial front-runners on the open market. Those players have been analyzed and compared many times in this space. But one name stands out from the crowd: Everson Griffen, the former Vikings defensive end and four-time Pro Bowl selection with 74.5 career sacks.

The 32-year-old had a whopping eight sacks last year in Minnesota. He would slot right in as the Eagles’ third edge rusher and form a truly dominant defensive line in Philadelphia when teamed with Brandon Graham and Derek Barnett. Better yet, Griffen could probably be scooped up on a one-year sweetheart deal for $8 million or less. The Eagles have made it clear that they won’t dish out more than $10 million.

The idea of signing the nine-year NFL veteran has been talked about in previous weeks, most notably by former Eagles linebacker Seth Joyner. Joyner spent eight seasons (1986-1993) with the Eagles and his 37 sacks rank ninth all-time in franchise history. He took to Twitter to sound the alarm for Griffen, whom he called a “proven pass rusher” with the potential for “double-digit sacks.”

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Does Griffen Bring Any Emotional Baggage?

Griffen battled through an emotionally draining 2018 season that saw him fight through mental issues and spend three months in a sober recovery house. He missed five games for the Vikings and wasn’t allowed to have a car or cell phone, per NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero. He was also still dealing with the death of his mother from 2012.

Two years later, Griffen is a free agent and ready to show the doubters that he has plenty left in the tank. The stud pass-rusher from Arizona took a $3 million pay cut in 2019 and earned the right to void the last three years of his contract by betting on himself. Griffen recorded eight sacks last season (plus 1.5 sacks in the playoffs) and walked away from Minnesota a better and changed man.

“I’m a hundred percent positive that 2019 was just a glimpse of what I still have left in the tank,” Griffen told Pelissero. “I was after practice going to my counseling meetings, going to see my therapist, getting my massages. It was still a work in progress in the 2019 season. I just wasn’t focused (solely) on football. And that will never still be the case because I have to focus on outside of football: What makes Everson healthy?”

What makes Everson healthy? Making big plays, for one.

Eagles fans might remember Griffen best for intercepting a fake field goal attempt when Philly took on the Vikings in 2019. It was a play the Eagles had practiced during the week leading up to the game but Dallas Goedert and Jake Elliott failed to execute it. Then, Griffen made them pay before halftime during that forgettable 38-20 loss.

Griffen also teamed up with Eagles defensive tackle Fletcher Cox in the Pro Bowl to honor the late Kobe Bryant following a sack. The two appeared to have good chemistry, perhaps Cox has already put in a good word with GM Howie Roseman about Griffen. If not, he should.

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