Jacksonville Jaguars may have no choice but to release Shaquill Griffin
Before the Jacksonville Jaguars decide which players they want to re-sign in 2023, they need to get under the cap. They’re currently $13 million in the red, and they’ll need to shed a few contracts and restructure others to have enough room to operate in the offseason. One player that could become a cap casualty is cornerback Shaquill Griffin.
Griffin is set to have a cap hit of $17.14 million but releasing him would free up $13.14 million with $4 million in dead money. This makes him a prime candidate to get the boot. In fact, Kristopher Knox of Bleacher Report thinks this might be the best course of action, even if it leaves the Jaguars thin at cornerback.
"The Jags are projected to be more than $20 million over the cap, and they need to clear cap space just to sign their incoming draft picks. Jacksonville can jump-start the process by moving on from cornerback Shaquill Griffin. The 2021 free-agent addition appeared in just five games this season before suffering a season-ending back injury. Last season, he wasn’t exactly a star. Though Griffin was a serviceable starter, he allowed an opposing passer rating of 109.5 in coverage."
Knox is most likely including wide receiver Calvin Ridley’s cap hit for 2023. Ridley is currently serving an indefinite suspension but he’s expected to be cleared, which is why Knox says Jacksonville is projected to be $20 million over the cap. Either way, parting ways with Griffin might not be a tough decision when you take into account how much cap relief the Jaguars would get if they cut ties with him.
A third-round pick by the Seattle Seahawks in 2017, Griffin signed a three-year, $40 million contract with Jacksonville in 2021. He was named team captain before the start of the season and his leadership helped the Jags navigate the Urban Meyer era.
Expected to make an impact in 2022, Griffin suffered a back injury in training camp and wasn’t 100 percent when he took the field. He played five games and 22 receptions for 264 yards before being placed on the Injured Reserve.
Releasing Shaquill Griffin would be a business decision for the Jaguars
Griffin would certainly like to play for the Jaguars in 2023 but he’s aware that a return might not make much sense from a financial standpoint. “I’m staying hopeful“, Griffin said via Demetrius Harvey of the Florida Times-Union.
“I know at the end of the day, it’s business. I know where my heart is; my heart is here. If we can make that work, we will”, Griffin said.
The Jags could restructure Griffin’s contract and push some of his salary to 2024. On the other hand, they might be better off moving on from him. Darious Williams, who started the 2022 season in the slot, fared well opposite Tyson Campbell once he moved to the boundaries. The coaching staff would need to move Williams back to nickel and there’s no guarantee Griffin will bounce back.
Moreover, the Jaguars could find Griffin’s potential replacement in the draft. This year’s class is stacked at cornerback and the front office could land a good one in the second or the third round. An alternative is to sign someone like Rock Ya-Sin or Troy Hill in free agency, so the Jaguars’ brass will have options if they move on from Griffin.
Nobody will deny Griffin was an invaluable contributor to the Jaguars in 2021. However, keeping him doesn’t make sense from a financial standpoint, which is why there’s a good chance he’ll play somewhere else next season.