Grading the Everson Griffen Trade

Read more on SI All Lions' reaction to the Everson Griffen trade
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Lions fans, there is no reason for speculation any longer on what the organization will do leading into this year's NFL trade deadline (Nov. 3). They officially will be "buyers."

They made their intentions loud and clear by executing a trade Tuesday with the Dallas Cowboys for veteran defensive end Everson Griffen. 

As part of the deal, Detroit will reportedly give up a conditional 2021 sixth-round draft pick that has the potential of becoming a fifth-rounder.

Griffen, who had signed a one-year, $6 million deal with the Cowboys this past offseason, brings with him a ton of pass-rushing experience.

In fact, the 11th-year pro, who suited up for 10 seasons with the Lions' NFC North rival Minnesota Vikings, recorded at least 5.5 sacks each year from 2012-2019. 

During that same span, he accounted for a total of 70.5 sacks, good for an average of 8.8 per season.

Eight of those 70.5 sacks came in Griffen's final campaign in Minnesota in 2019.

He also had a knack for being very productive whenever he played against Detroit. 

In 19 career games against the Lions, Griffen accumulated 16 sacks, including at least one in his last six games against them.

As for this season with the Cowboys, he had recorded 2.5 sacks, six quarterback hits and 20 total tackles, including three tackles for loss, in seven games.

And he's coming off one of his best games of the 2020 campaign, as he totaled a sack, two QB hits and five combined tackles, including one for loss, in Week 7 against the Washington Football Team.


Griffen is now 32, and is no longer in the prime of his career.

So, his days of recording 12 and 13 sacks in a season -- as he did in 2014 and 2017, respectively -- and even eight sacks -- as he did in 2012, 2016 and 2019 -- are likely behind him. 

Yet, there's still no doubt the four-time Pro Bowler can add value to a Lions team that has seemingly been void of a consistently productive pass-rush ever since Matt Patricia took over as head coach in 2018.

Just taking a quick look at this year's stats will provide you with all you need to know about how poorly Detroit's pass-rushing unit truly has been. 

For the season, the Lions rank not only just 27th in pass-rush win rate, according to ESPN Analytics, but also a disappointing 30th in adjusted sack rate, according to Football Outsiders

Simply, Detroit has had a rough time consistently getting to the quarterback throughout the course of the 2020 campaign.

Griffen has a great shot at helping the Lions wreak more havoc on opposing passers the rest of the way this season, even if his impact ends up not being as significant as it would have been during his "prime" years. 

And he comes to the organization cheaply, as Detroit general manager Bob Quinn didn't have to mortgage the future in order to acquire his services.

Even though there's a risk factor involved in trading for a half-a-season rental like Griffen, with his contract expiring at the end of the campaign, giving up a conditional mid-to-late-round pick for him looks to be well worth it.

I don't expect the play of Griffen to catapult the Lions into the playoffs, but commend Quinn & Co. for going out and making a move that at least enhances the odds of the team making the postseason in 2020.

Grade for trade: B-

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