Everson Griffen admitted the grass wasn’t greener in his year-long venture away from home last season.
The four-time Pro Bowler voided his contract with the Minnesota Vikings after not agreeing on a second restructuring of his contract last offseason. He landed with the Dallas Cowboys and later the Detroit Lions by trade.
“It was a tough decision to leave. I left because I thought the grass was greener on the other side, to be honest, and it wasn’t,” Griffen said in a press conference on Monday. “I didn’t get the love that I got here with the fans, with the cultures, with the players — the grass wasn’t greener. I learned, and I’m happy to be home.”
Grateful to be back in Minnesota, Griffen took a veteran minimum deal that is incredibly team-friendly for a veteran of his caliber.
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Contract Details Revealed
ESPN’s Courtney Cronin reported Thursday morning that Griffen agreed to a one-year deal with the Vikings.
“His base salary is $1.075 million and comes with an $850,000 cap charge,” Cronin tweeted.”He has a split in his contract, so if he gets placed on injured reserve at any time his base drops to $565,000.”
Under his contract, Griffen is not guaranteed a single cent. The deal couldn’t be more team-friendly as most veteran minimum contracts at the very least promise guaranteed money to offset the lesser earnings.
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Griffen had a difficult decision last offseason.
Coming off his fourth Pro Bowl appearance in 2019, Griffen believed he was still worth every dollar of the four-year, $58 million contract extension he signed in his prime after tallying fourth-most sacks (30.5) in the league from 2014-2016.
“Man, this means I’m a Vike for life. I appreciate the coaching staff, the ownership, the organization,” Griffen said following the deal’s closure in 2017.
He had already restructured his deal once entering the 2019 season — a move that hinted the Vikings may come for his contract again — and was still a capable pass-rusher, tallying 8.0 sacks in 2019.
The Vikings came knocking again in 2020 following Kirk Cousins’ contract extension. They needed to create cap space to reward Dalvin Cook with a lucrative second contract. This time Griffen, due a $13.9 million base salary in 2020, didn’t fold.
He voided the final three years of his player-option contract and signed a one-year, $6 million contract with the Cowboys. He tallied just 2.5 sacks in the first seven games of the season. But with Detroit, he resurfaced as a threat on the edge. He tallied 3.5 sacks and an 80.1 pass-rush grade by Pro Football Focus — which would have ranked 12th among all pass rushers if sustained for the whole season.
Griffen attested in January his departure was never about money but more about respect.
“It’s never been about the money! It’s been about respect. Now with respect comes the money,” Griffen tweeted at the time he was advocating for his return to Minnesota in January.
The 33-year-old proved his words true with his latest contract with the Vikings and can now finish his career with the team that took a chance on him in the fourth round over a decade ago.