NFL News & Analysis

2021 NFL Free Agency: Shaquill Griffin, Jaguars agree to 3-year deal worth up to $44.5M

Dec 20, 2020; Landover, Maryland, USA; Seattle Seahawks cornerback Shaquill Griffin (26) intercepts a pass in front of Washington Football Team wide receiver Cam Sims (89) in the second quarter at FedExField. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The Jacksonville Jaguars have made another free agency splash, signing cornerback Shaquill Griffin to a three-year deal worth up to $44.5 million.

The NFL market seemed to be significantly higher on Griffin than us here at PFF. He was the No. 41-ranked free agent in our rankings heading into the offseason, but he was clearly a top priority for several teams in need of cornerback help.

Griffin isn’t yet 26 years old and is entering his prime after starting his career with the Seahawks, but only one of his four NFL seasons was high quality.

In 2019, Griffin produced a 77.0 PFF coverage grade thanks to 14 pass breakups, none of which were interceptions. That was also his best season in run defense, earning a 70.0-plus grade in that facet — the only time in his career he has hit that threshold.

He has prototypical size and speed and tends to break up a lot of passes, but he also allows a lot of receiver production. The lower end of his play has resulted in average grades in other seasons.

In three of his four NFL campaigns, Griffin allowed at least 60% of passes thrown his way to be caught. In each of the past three seasons, he was beaten for a 90.0-plus passer rating, topping out at 101.2 in 2018, when he posted a mere 48.1 PFF coverage grade.

Griffin seems to possess all of the requisite tools to be an excellent player, but his range of outcomes could be huge.

For its part, Jacksonville badly needed cornerback help, even after investing a first-round pick last year in C.J. Henderson at the position. Henderson hit the ground running but tailed off as the season wore on, struggling in a similar manner to almost every rookie cornerback as offenses put up record-setting passing numbers. 

Sidney Jones, who the team also re-signed, was by far the Jaguars' best corner, both in terms of PFF grade and coverage numbers. He was the only cornerback on the roster last season who gave up a sub-100.0 passer rating in coverage. Henderson surrendered a 111.7 passer rating and allowed 65% of passes into his coverage to be caught.

Jones and Henderson both made some plays on the ball, but they combined for just 13 pass breakups, a figure Griffin has eclipsed on his own twice in his four-year NFL career.

Ultimately, while there is some risk attached to Griffin given his inconsistency, he will combine with Henderson and Jones to give Jacksonville a talented trio that could be a perfect foundation piece for the team’s new direction.

Know tomorrow, today. Western Southern Financial Group.
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