The Jacksonville Jaguars needed to revamp their secondary this offseason. Thus, it wasn’t surprising to see them sign former Seattle Seahawks cornerback Shaquill Griffin and former Los Angeles Chargers safety Rayshawn Jenkins in free agency. Both players have quickly become key cogs on the Jaguars’ back end but not everyone is sold on Griffin’s ability to make an impact in 2021.
Kristopher Knox of Bleacher Report recently put together a list of NFL players that could disappoint this upcoming season and Griffin was the pick for the Jaguars. Knox notes that Jacksonville gave the 2017 third-round pick a three-year contract worth $40 million earlier this year. However, he doesn’t believe they will get a return on their investment. He also thinks that the Jags paid too much money for a cornerback that ‘has been merely average’.
Knox does acknowledge that Griffin has plenty of experience (53 games in four seasons and one Pro Bowl selection). Nevertheless, he says the Central Florida product isn’t a top cornerback and highlights the fact that he’s given up 15 touchdowns and surrendered an opposing quarterback rating of 93.3 or higher over the last three years. Furthermore, Knox points out that Griffin has a penchant for missing tackles, which won’t bode well for the Jags’ run defense.
The Jacksonville Jaguars know what they have in Shaquill Griffin.
Signing Griffin looks like a horrible decision if you only focus on the negatives. The Jaguars’ brass is aware the former Seahawk hasn’t performed like an elite player and it would be unrealistic to expect him to do so in 2021. Instead, Jacksonville probably projects Griffin to play the way he did in 2019. That was the year he earned a Pro Bowl nod in spite of not snagging a single interception. On the other hand, logged 13 passes defensed and allowed a completion rate of 57.1 percent and just four touchdowns that same season.
The Jags would surely love Griffin to increase his interception totals but they didn’t sign him because of his ball-hawking skills. The team brought him in to stabilize a cornerback group that lacked depth and was hard hit by injuries last season. Also, his contract was rich but one the team could easily afford. Jacksonville had the most cap space in the NFL this offseason and they had to spend it somewhere. Signing a cornerback that has the potential to play at a Pro Bowl level doesn’t look like a bad investment in retrospect.
Even if Griffin underperforms in 2021, the Jaguars have other cornerbacks that can take his place. They drafted Tyson Campbell in the second round of this year’s draft. Moreover, they re-signed Sidney Jones and Tre Herndon. Jacksonville wasn’t interested in acquiring a shutdown corner this offseason. Rather, they wanted to build a stout unit that can withstand injuries. Griffin will most likely start opposite sophomore C.J. Henderson in Week 1 but Jones and Herndon can also take the field if needed.
The Jaguars would surely love to have a top 3 cornerback on the roster, but they currently have four (five if you count Campbell) that can start games. When the team’s brass acquired Griffin, they thought about the impact he will have for the team this upcoming season, not how much money they had to fork for his services.