Lions Instructed to Let Perennial Pro Bowler Walk in Free Agency

Everson Griffen

Getty Everson Griffen playing for the Lions.

The Detroit Lions figure to see some big changes on the defensive side of the ball this offseason, and the biggest could well take place up front.

Detroit’s defensive line disappointed last season in a big way, and as a result, they are going to see some pieces moved in and out at this point in time. With plenty of free agents across the roster, who should be one that doesn’t come back?

Recently, Bleacher Report and writer Kristopher Knox revealed the player that should be moving on this offseason for every team. According to Knox, the Lions shouldn’t have any interest in bringing back defensive end Everson Griffen even in spite of their need for pass rush help. The reason? Griffen doesn’t fit with what the Lions are trying to do at this point in time.

He wrote:

“Everson Griffen may not be the standout defensive end he once was, but he was more than serviceable in seven games for the Detroit Lions in 2020, logging 3.5 sacks and 13 tackles in a rotational role.

Here’s the problem, though. The Lions traded for Griffen when coach Matt Patricia and general manager Bob Quinn were still trying to save their jobs. Both were fired in November and replaced by Dan Campbell and Brad Holmes after the regular season.

The Lions have since agreed to trade quarterback Matthew Stafford for Jared Goff, a pair of first-round picks and a third-rounder—a move that should mark the beginning of a rebuild. The 33-year-old Griffen doesn’t fit into such a plan, as both his age and potential salary could be problematic.”

Detroit traded for Griffen last year in a desperate attempt to salvage their pass rush and it didn’t exactly help matters much at all.

Everson Griffen Stats

Griffen, to this point in his career heading into 2021, has been one of the best players up front in the league with 386 tackles and 80.5 career sacks. He’s 32 years old and has been aging, but has proven himself as a dynamic defender capable of wreaking havoc.

This past season with Dallas before joining Detroit, Griffen hadn’t done much in a big way with just 2.5 sacks and 20 combined tackles, but he played for a team in Dallas that was struggling badly on the field. There’s no reason to think he still couldn’t get it done as a pass rusher.

More than these stats, Griffen has always been a thorn in Detroit’s side. In his career, he has consistently exposed the Lions’ offensive line to the tune of 16 career sacks, the most of any team he has ever played in the league. If the Lions don’t bring back Griffen, they probably don’t want to see him signing with a team they face a ton considering this fact.

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Lions Defensive Line Needs Upgrades

Detroit has a chance to upgrade their entire roster at spots, and defensive end is theoretically a place that you might see the team make some bigger moves this offseason. After not getting after the quarterback good enough for the last handful of seasons, it’s time for the Lions to turn that around. Letting someone like Griffen walk while looking for cheaper or free agent options might be the best course of action for the team in the end.

Many already don’t see Griffen as very primed to come back for the Lions.

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