Nearly three months after the Seahawks declined to extend a qualifying offer to him as a restricted free agent, Shaquem Griffin hopes to take his talents to the Mile High City.
According to Mike Klis of 9News, Griffin arrived in Denver on Monday for a free agent visit and is expected to participate in the team's three-day minicamp on a tryout basis. After the conclusion of the camp, the team would have the option to sign him to the 90-man roster before training camp kicks off in late July.
Selected by the Seahawks in the fifth round in 2018, Griffin became the first player with one hand to be drafted by an NFL team while reuniting with his twin brother Shaquill. Born with amniotic band syndrome, his left hand didn't develop properly and was amputated at the age of four. But he didn't let his condition stop him from excelling on the football field and he eventually earned All-American honors at UCF.
Unfortunately, Griffin's immense college success didn't translate to the NFL as he struggled to earn consistent playing time during his three years in Seattle. Despite possessing 4.38 40-yard dash speed, his lack of size at under 220 pounds impacted his ability to carve out a role as a situational edge rusher. Due to the talent in front of him at linebacker, he wasn't able to make much of an impact at that position either.
Ironically, Griffin's first and only NFL start came in his debut against the Broncos in Week 1 of the 2018 season serving as a replacement for an injured K.J. Wright. After that point, he primarily played special teams for the Seahawks, though the team did utilize him as a specialty pass rusher in spurts during the 2019 and 2020 seasons.
Griffin's lone shining moment came during the 2019 playoffs, as he teamed up with Shaquill Griffin to sack Aaron Rodgers on third down during the fourth quarter of a divisional round matchup in Green Bay. The stop gave the football back to Russell Wilson with a chance to orchestrate a comeback, but Seattle ultimately lost the contest 28-23.
Appearing in 46 regular season games with the Seahawks, Griffin logged 259 total defensive snaps and produced 25 tackles, a sack, a tackle for loss, and six quarterback hits.
Looking at the Broncos depth chart, Griffin could face an uphill climb trying to make the roster if the team decides to sign him after his tryout. They currently have perennial All-Pro Von Miller and rising star Bradley Chubb slated as starters at outside linebacker, while Baron Browning was also added to the fold as a third-round pick out of Ohio State.
But given the obstacles Griffin overcame to simply make it to the NFL, it would be unwise to count him out and his special teams ability could give him a fighting chance to sneak on the roster.