The first big domino has fallen for the Seahawks in free agency with their starting left cornerback bolting for his home state.
According to Mike Dugar of the Athletic, after mulling over offers from three teams, including the Seahawks, Shaquill Griffin has agreed to terms with the Jaguars on a three-year, $44.5 million contract. Under the terms of the deal, he would become the seventh-highest paid cornerback in the NFL.
Griffin becomes the third Seahawks free agent to sign with the Jaguars thus far, joining running back Carlos Hyde and receiver Phillip Dorsett, who each agreed to terms on contracts on Monday.
Griffin, 25, entered the league as a third-round pick out of UCF in 2017 and became a starter early in his rookie season. He wound up starting 11 games, producing 59 tackles, 15 passes defensed, and an interception, which set the stage for the team to release All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman after the season.
While Griffin has battled a few minor injuries and inconsistency issues along the way, he developed into a quality starter at the left cornerback spot in the Seahawks post-Legion of Boom secondary over the past three seasons. Starting 42 games during that span, he generated 153 tackles, 33 passes defensed, and five interceptions while also being named to his first Pro Bowl in 2019.
Seattle made one final push to retain Griffin on Tuesday before he made his final decision, but Jacksonville sweetened the pot by offering more money and the opportunity for a homecoming was too good to pass up.
Making the situation even better, his twin brother Shaquem Griffin is also expected to join the Jaguars. Barring a last minute change of heart, the Seahawks won't place a tender on the fourth-year linebacker before Wednesday, which will make him an unrestricted free agent free to sign with any team.
With Griffin departing for Jacksonville, the Seahawks currently have D.J. Reed and Tre Flowers as the only cornerbacks on the roster with starting experience. Quinton Dunbar remains a free agent and could be re-signed after missing most of the 2020 season with a knee injury. Other veteran options could be considered on the market for a far cheaper cost as well.
Seattle currently has $17 million in effective cap space available after releasing Carlos Dunlap last week. To this point, the team has yet to make a signing and while finding a new left cornerback is on the agenda, vacancies at left guard, center, and defensive end likely will remain the top priorities moving forward in the free agency period.