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The Case For and Against Extending Seahawks CB Shaquill Griffin

Coming off a Pro Bowl season in 2019, the Seahawks face a tough decision on whether or not they want to give cornerback Shaquill Griffin a multi-year extension.

Even though the 2020 season is still a few months away from kicking off, wise front offices think ahead to what they will face in the upcoming offseasons as far as players who need extensions. 

One member of the 2017 draft class has already received an extension in Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey, who rightfully signed the richest contract by a running back in NFL history.

Another member of that same draft class is due for an evaluation soon on whether or not they deserve an extension, albeit not as lucrative as McCaffrey's. 

Selected 90th overall in the third round in 2017, Seahawks cornerback Shaquill Griffin has blossomed into a fine NFL defensive back. His rookie contract expires at the conclusion of the upcoming season, which leaves general manager John Schneider with a big decision to make.

Let's explore the arguments in favor of offering Griffin an extension and the case against as well.

Why Seattle Should Extend Griffin

First and foremost, the former UCF star was named to his first Pro Bowl this past season, becoming Seattle's first Pro Bowl corner since Richard Sherman in 2016. The 24-year old steadily improved over his first three seasons and has appeared in every game but three over that span.

In 2018, Griffin allowed a 104.8 passer rating with a 66.3 percent completion percentage against him as he experienced growing pains in his sophomore season. Last year, he built off of those struggles and came out better for it, allowing a 97.3 passer rating with a 57.1 percent completion percentage against him, better than Sherman or Ravens All-Pro corner Marlon Humphrey.

Griffin earned a very favorable 77.0 grade from Pro Football Focus last year, better than fellow Pro Bowl corners Joe Haden and Marshon Lattimore. Since 2017, the UCF product is 13th in the NFL in passes defended, with 36. 

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Seahawks corners are expected to be a willing participant in tackling against the running game and Griffin has improved in that aspect as well, increasing his tackle total each season. 

Griffin has earned himself an extension with Seattle based on his progression and steady presence in a secondary where the partnering corner position has been in flux. The Seahawks hoped to fix that with a trade for Quinton Dunbar, who arrived to battle Tre Flowers for that corner spot opposite Griffin.

However, the status of that position is very foggy based on Dunbar's legal issues and unknown availability for the 2020 season and beyond. Griffin offers a steadier presence on and off the field. 

Why Seattle Shouldn't Extend Griffin

One of the cornerback's main jobs is to create turnovers in the passing game. Although Griffin has been effective in other ways, he has been subpar at intercepting passes and creating turnovers.

Over three seasons, Griffin has made just three interceptions and did not have a single pick last year. Both of Griffin's interceptions in 2018 came in the same game against the Bears. This means the former UCF Knight has had an interception in just two games out of his 45 career contests, which simply isn't good enough.

Griffin's 2018 campaign was a roller coaster ride which was punctuated by a poor performance against the Cowboys in the Wild Card round, as he missed three tackles and allowed a touchdown. He was nursing an ankle injury, but it still was an undesirable playoff performance.

Though Griffin showed improvement in 2019, Seattle may want to make sure last year was a sign of things to come, not a blip on the radar before committing long term. 

Conclusion

Overall, Griffin has improved substantially in most facets of his game and given his youth and remaining upside, the good outweighs the bad enough to merit giving him a lucrative multi-year extension, providing the Seahawks invaluable stability at the cornerback position for years to come. He should be signed to a three or four-year deal in the ballpark of $10-12 million per year, in line with the contracts of Haden, Casey Hayward, and Desmond Trufant.