Should the Detroit Lions’ front office attempt to go after Everson Griffen?
There’s no secret and it’s known around the league how much of a weak link the Detroit Lions defensive line is. Last season, the Lions tied for second last in sacks with a mere total of 28 while applying close to no pressure on the quarterback.
Heading into the 2020 season, the defensive line is still an area of weakness. While the team still has defensive end Trey Flowers who only recorded seven sacks last season, the team parted ways with nose tackle Damon “Snacks” Harrison and defensive tackle A’Shawn Robinson.
Those guys were replaced with less than ideal options in defensive tackles Nick Williams and Danny Shelton. While they also drafted defensive end Julian Okwara, it remains to be seen how much he’ll play in his rookie year.
As general manager Bob Quinn and head coach Matt Patricia most likely need a winning season to keep their jobs beyond this year, should the Lions pursue defensive end Everson Griffen to bolster their defensive line?
The 32-year-old Griffen has spent the past 10 seasons with the Minnesota Vikings where he has totaled 74.5 sacks with 332 tackles (236 solo) and 16 pass deflections. He has been an important and reliable part of the Skol defensive line where since his rookie year, he’s appeared in 147 of 160 possible games.
Griffen would pair nicely on the opposite end of Flowers but that would also mean moving defensive end Romeo Okwara to the bench. While he had a huge down year in 2019 as he only recorded 1.5 sacks and 25 tackles in 14 games, he did get 7.5 sacks in 2018.
Bringing in Griffen also means less playing time and opportunity for Romeo’s brother Julian. The coaching staff may want to give the younger Okwara a chance to show what he’s got as some tab him as a highly regarded edge rusher and a vital piece of the Lions future.
While there may not be a fit on paper, there’s another important reason the Lions should maybe pursue Griffen. The Vikings and Green Bay Packers are reportedly interested in signing him.
As two division rivals are after Griffen, the Lions could swoop in and attempt to sign him to prevent him from playing for a different team within the division. Griffen playing in the division for a team that’s not the Lions could harm the team’s chances of winning games and making the playoffs.
As the Lions apparently have lots of salary cap space, currently more than the Vikings and Packers do combined. Detroit could bring in Griffen on a loaded one-year deal. This would be the best scenario as the Lions are putting all their focus into winning this season and could very well tear this team down if things go sideways.
It would also allow Julian Okwara to rest and rehab his leg which he severely injured in college. While the coaching staff and fans would love to see him playing, it’s best to have him fully healthy in order for him to reach his full potential. In regards to the elder Okwara, Griffen would be seen as an upgrade over Romeo due to talent, skill, and experience.
If the Lions can somehow get Griffen to agree to a one year deal, I’m all for bringing him to the Motor City, especially if it will get him out of wearing a Packers or Vikings jersey.