Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Shaquill Griffin has been dealing with a back injury that’s forced him to sit out two games this season Head coach Doug Pederson said not long ago that if he were healthy, he would be the starter opposite sophomore Tyson Campbell, However, Griffin will miss at least four games after being placed on the Injured Reserve.
The Jags announced Wednesday they placed Griffin on IR and depending on how his recovery goes, he may or may not play another snap this season. But if he shows progress, he could return as soon as Week 11. Looking back, it’s possible that the back injury played a role in the former UFC Knight’s struggles this season.
A free agent last year, Griffin signed a three-year deal worth $44.5 million with the Jags. He was named captain by his teammates and was arguably one of their best defensive players. Moreover, he was often tasked with speaking with the local media after a loss, which was a common occurrence.
This season, Griffin posted a Pro Football Focus overall grade of 65.3 on 876 defensive snaps. He made five starts and logged 29 total tackles and four passes defensed. He was targeted 32 times and allowed 22 completions for 264 yards and three receiving touchdowns.
With Griffin missing at least four games, Tre Herndon is the next man up. Here are three quick thoughts in regard to the situation.
3. Jaguars CB Tre Herndon will have a chance to rise his stock in 2022
Herndon isn’t a Pro Bowl-caliber player but he’s got starting experience. In fact, he started 12 and 14 games in 2019 and 2020 respectively. He has the versatility to play inside and outside and was slated to be the team’s nickel cornerback last year before he suffered an MCL injury in the preseason. He went on to miss several games because of the injury and struggled when he was on the field, which prompted the coaching staff to bench him.
Nevertheless, the Jaguars’ brass recognized his value and re-signed him earlier this year. He fared well against the Los Angeles Chargers but gave up a touchdown reception to New York Giants’ Darius Slayton in Week 7.
Head coach Doug Pederson has previously praised Herndon, who’s set to become a free agent next offseason. The Vanderbilt product could see his stock rise in the upcoming months if he plays well. Conversely, he could struggle to find demand for his services in 2023 if he performs poorly.
No. 2 Shaquill Griffin could be a cap casualty next year
Shaquill Griffin is set to count $17 million against the cap in 2023 but his play hasn’t been proportional to his on-field performance. Releasing him would create $13.5 million in cap space with a dead cap hit of $4 million, so unless he agrees to take a pay cut, he could become a cap casualty next offseason.
Per Over the Cap, the Jags are currently $411, 979 in the red for 2023, so they will need to look for cap relief anywhere they can. Griffin might be the easiest place to start at, as his cap hit is one of the five highest in the Jaguars’ books.
1. Cornerback might be a need for the Jaguars in 2023
So let’s say Jacksonville moves on from both Herndon and Griffin. They would need to replenish their cornerback room next offseason. They drafted Gregory Junior and Montaric Brown this season but they’re nothing more than depth at this point of their respective careers, so the Jags might need to use an early-round selection in next year’s draft. Another alternative is to sign someone in free agency but knowing they might have a limited amount of cap space to work with, they might need to look for help in the bargain bin, and it’s unlikely that they will find any difference-makers there.