Cornerback Shaquill Griffin signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars in free agency last year and quickly became an important piece of their secondary. But he struggled early in the 2022 season and is currently out for the year, which has led to chatter about the Jags possibly moving on from him next offseason.
Kristopher Knox of Bleacher Report recently put together a list of the best trade pieces of the 2023 season and Griffin made the cut. Knox argues that Jacksonville has’t had a “stellar return on their investment” on the veteran cornerback and goes on to say that they should consider looking for a potential trade partner instead of outright releasing him.
"Instead of releasing Griffin, the Jaguars should be able to find a taker on the trade market. He’s still just 27 years old, plays a premium position and ahd two strong seasons with the Seattle Seahawks before he lands in upstate Florida."
Knox believes the Jaguars could fetch a fifth-round pick in 2023 and a sixth in 2024, which isn’t a particularly high cost for clubs in need of cornerback help.
A third-round pick by the Seattle Seahawks in 2017, Griffin signed a three-year $40.5 million deal with the Jags year. Although he didn’t play at a Pro Bowl level, he was named team captain before the start of the 2021 season was one of Jacksonville’s most consistent defenders week in and week out.
But things didn’t go well the way the Jaguars and Griffin expected this season. He had a back injury in training camp and struggled before being shut down for the remainder of the year. The UCF Kight allowed a 68.8 percent completion rate and three touchdowns when targeted, but it’s possible that his struggles were due to his injury so it’s reasoable to think he will bounce back in 2023.
Would teams really trade for Jaguars CB Shaquill Griffin?
As Knox points out, Griffin plays a position which demand outweighs the supply and teams are always looking to get their hands on as many good cornerbacks as possible. Having said that, it might be difficult to find a trade partner for Griffin. Not because he’s can’t play but rather because of his cap hit in 2023. He’s set to count $17.5 million against the cap and the Jags are in need of cap relief.
Trading or releasing Griffin would free up $13.5 milion with $4 million in cap space, so he will be one of the first players the Jaguars’ brass will look at when looking for fat to trim. The problem would be finding someone who’s willing to take on his salary and give up compensation in exchange for his services.
In fact, clubs may prefer to wait for Jacksonville to cut ties with Griffin instead of having to trade for him. Another less-discussed alternative is accepting a paycut, which he might not be inclined to take.
It’s currently unknown to the public what the Jaguars plan to do with Griffin in 2023 but a trade seems unlikely due to his salary. Maybe e a team does pull the trigger for him but releasing him seems like a more realistic scenario.