Report: Seahawks Remain Interested in Everson Griffen, Clay Matthews
As training camp slowly treks towards actual on-field practices, the Seahawks have circled the wagon when it comes to taking a peek at veteran pass rushers.
According to Mike Silver on NFL Network, the Seahawks "appear to have moved on" from signing Jadeveon Clowney and zeroed in on defensive end Everson Griffen and linebacker Clay Matthews to help supplement their pass rush. A potential deal for one or both players could happen quickly.
While Clowney remains the best available free agent on the market and there's been continued speculation about a potential return, he hasn't been willing to lower his financial demands on a one-year deal. At this stage, Seattle made its best offer to him months ago and unless he abruptly changes course and decides to accept less, he doesn't appear to be in the team's budget.
Instead, the Seahawks have shifted their attention back to two reliable veterans with prior ties to coach Pete Carroll.
Griffen, 33, played for Carroll at USC from 2007 to 2009 before being selected by the Vikings in the fourth round of the 2010 NFL Draft. In 10 NFL seasons - all of which have been in Minnesota - he's amassed 353 tackles, 74.5 sacks, 176 quarterback hits, and nine forced fumbles. He's produced double digit sacks three times, most recently accomplishing the feat in 2017 when he received Second-Team All-Pro honors.
Bouncing back from a challenging 2018 season marred by mental health struggles, Griffen produced 41 tackles and 8.0 sacks for the Vikings last season, earning his fourth Pro Bowl selection. Due to salary cap issues, the team opted not to retain him for an 11th season and the Seahawks were quickly linked to him as a suitor in March.
As for Matthews, he initially arrived at USC as a walk-on, eventually earning a full scholarship in 2006. Transforming from a scout team player as a freshman into a top NFL prospect by his senior season, the Packers selected him with the 26th overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft.
Earning six Pro Bowl appearances in his first seven seasons in Green Bay, Matthews eclipsed double digit sacks four times during that span. He remained an effective pass rusher throughout his 10 seasons with the Packers, but after posting a career-low 3.5 sacks in 2018, the organization chose not to re-sign him.
In his first and lone season with the Rams, Matthews showed he still had plenty of juice off the edge last season. Despite playing in just 13 games due to a broken jaw, he recorded 8.0 sacks, 11 quarterback hits, and two forced fumbles. Still, the team released him as a cap casualty in March.
From a schematic standpoint, Griffen would seem to make far more sense for the Seahawks. At 6-foot-3, 273 pounds, he has the prototypical size to play either defensive end spot and has also reduced inside as a pass rusher throughout his career on passing downs.
As for Matthews, he's spent the vast majority of his NFL career as an outside linebacker in a 3-4 defensive scheme. Having played for Carroll and defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. previously, however, the coaching staff should have an idea of how to best deploy him off the edge and he could see snaps as a LEO defensive end potentially.
With camp underway and the season opener just a little over a month away, the clock is ticking for the Seahawks to add a quality veteran pass rusher. Until Clowney signs with someone, speculation will remain about a return, but it seems far more likely at this point the team will roll with Griffen and/or Matthews instead and a deal could be in the works soon.