When the New York Giants entered free agency this offseason, they came strapped with an excessive amount of spending money and a glaring need on the edge of their defense.
Connecting the dots, many pegged the G-Men as a logical landing spot for former 1st-overall draft pick Jadeveon Clowney. However, others felt doling out the type of money it would take to secure Clowney’s services would be doing a disservice for a team in drastic need of an influx of talent on a multitude of levels. The Giants clearly agreed, as they opted to spread out their money.
While the Giants appear all but out of the Clowney sweepstakes, a fellow prominent edge-rusher also remains on the open market, long-time Minnesota Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen.
The 4x-Pro Bowler is a player who the Giants had been constantly linked to throughout the offseason, and a player who just so happens to have more career sacks and more career Pro Bowls to his name when compared to Clowney.
Everson Griffen ‘Narrows Down List’ of Destinations
According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport Griffen has narrowed down his choices and interestingly enough one of those choices includes Griffen’s long-time NFC North rival, the Green Bay Packers.
On the other hand, Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer recently revealed to NFL Network’s Stacy Dales his desire to retain Griffen. “I don’t know,” Zimmer stated when asked about Griffen’s potential return to Minneapolis, adding “he texted me the other day telling me congratulations. I’d love to have him back. He’s always been one of my guys.”
Aside from the reported interest from the Packers, no other teams have been revealed from Griffen’s “narrowed down list.”
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Giants Added Cap Space Allows Them to Make Final Push
The Giants grew a little richer over the weekend, seeing their salary cap space grow by $3M-plus following the release of kicker Aldrick Rosas. As of today, Big Blue’s remaining cap space for the 2020 season sits at just north of $12 million, according to Over the Cap.
Despite the bump in cap space, it would still likely prove to be a tight squeeze to land Griffen, especially since his production warrants a decent sized contract. With that said, it’s certainly not out of the realm of possibility, as the Giants currently have more spending money than the Vikings ($9.88M) do at the moment.
Still, Big Blue remains a longshot to acquire Griffen’s services. The team just retained their leading sack artist from a season ago, Markus Golden, thanks to the seldomly used UFA Tender. In return, New York adds a pass-rusher with double-digit sack upside to an unproven, yet highly-intriguing slew of edge defenders, led by the likes of 2nd-year man Oshane Ximines.
General Manager Dave Gettleman has also been fairly bullish this offseason when it comes to paying for pass-rush. He refused to reward Golden with a sizable contract despite a breakout 2019 campaign, he avoided Clowney on the open market and his comments during the pre-draft process sound like a guy who doesn’t plan on changing his ways anytime soon.
A lot of people were raised with the 2007 and 2011 Super Bowl teams where we could consistently apply pressure with four. That is the goal, that’s what you want. You can’t manufacture (pass rush), and you can’t overpay for it. So, what it really comes down to is it’s not about who gets the sacks, it’s about how many sacks we get. Really, how much pressure you apply. Some of this is going to have to come through scheme.
The fact of the matter is, Griffen would immediately bolster one of the league’s least productive pass-rushing groups, evident by his 74.5 career sacks. With that said, at 32-years of age, Griffen would need to view the Giants as a playoff-worthy team in order for him to take a contract that Gettleman deems fit, an unlikely scenario for a team who has just one winning season to their name over the past seven years.
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