One of the many Detroit Lions free agents new general manager Brad Holmes will have to make a decision on this offseason is defensive end Everson Griffen.
Acquired via trade midseason, the 33-year-old pass-rusher was decent in his short stint with the Lions.
While in Detroit, he racked up 3.5 sacks, and totaled 15 pressures in seven games. Griffen carried the second-highest Pro Football Focus pass-rush grade on the team, although that might not be saying much.
All in all, considering the struggles the Lions had in getting to the quarterback, Griffen was serviceable as a rotational player. However, his value probably didn’t equal the late-round pick former Lions general manager Bob Quinn gave up for him.
Now that Griffen is once again on the open market, should the Lions attempt to re-sign the veteran? That’s if he would even like to return, obviously.
There are a few factors at play.
First, is he a fit in the new defense?
Defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn’s scheme is still a bit unknown. From all accounts, the defense will be pretty flexible, and will cater to players' strengths. There are coaches on staff who are experienced in both the 4-3 and 3-4 defense.
Griffen, meanwhile, is more of a traditional 4-3 defensive end.
Second, the Lions' tight salary-cap situation doesn’t make the re-signing of Griffen any easier.
It’s not like Griffen is at a point in his career where he will receive much money, though.
Still, the Lions need to be very frugal with where they spend their money.
That leads to the last point. Looking at where the Lions are at in their rebuild, taking on a contract for a long-in-the-tooth player doesn’t make a whole lot of sense -- unless the Lions are truly just looking for bodies to fill roster spots.
There are already young players who need to see playing time, such as Austin Bryant and Julian Okwara. In all likelihood, the Lions could add another EDGE through the draft, as well.
In the end, all signs would point to Griffen walking in free agency.
It’s not completely out of the equation that he could return. It just wouldn’t make a lot of sense for a reunion, unless the Lions are really struggling to find warm bodies or he comes back at the veteran minimum.
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