Everson Griffen is Still Top Target for Browns
The Browns spent big in the first week of free agency on names like Jack Conklin and Austin Hooper. You could even say Case Keenum was extravagant. The thing is if you look closely, you will see they were brilliant overall. This front office filled nearly every question with an answer in the first week and still left themselves roughly $41 million left for the remaining tiers of free agency. One player in the second tier is Everson Griffen, and according to all outlets, he is still one of the top targets for the Browns.
The delay comes down to what all delays are coming down to right now, the coronavirus. A 32-year-old player with a history of mental health issues needs examination by team doctors. Obviously, that can’t take place till the virus can be stopped. Once they can do physicals again, Griffen will be offered a contract from the Browns. He will likely be offered around $13-15 million with incentives to get to roughly $18 million per year on a one or two year deal. What can Everson bring to the Browns?
Everson Griffen, Defensive End
Griffen earned one of the two highest single-season pass-rushing grades of his career in 2019 (76.6) per Pro Football Focus. Also, according to PFF, Griffen recorded a career-high 70 total pressures across 596 pass-rushing snaps. These numbers show that even at 32, Griffen is still an impact player. He would finish 2019 with a stat line of 41 total tackles, 11 for a loss, eight sacks, and an interception for good measure.
Aside from 2018, Everson has started at least 15 games in five out of the last six seasons. Over that time, he has also gone to four pro bowls while garnering 57 sacks. The numbers and grades over the previous few seasons show a player that is still capable of wreaking havoc off the edge. The Browns need that presence opposite superstar Myles Garrett.
Everson vs. Vernon
Last off-season former general manager John Dorsey made THE deal. Dorsey sent Jabrill Peppers, Kevin Zeitler, and a first-round pick to the New York Giants. In return, the Browns received Olivier Vernon and Odell Beckham Jr. While the distinct focus was OBJ coming to town, Vernon had shown to be a robust pass-rushing presence over his career. Fans watched preseason, and the excitement only grew as to what the Browns defensive line with Vernon and Garrett as bookends could do. There were a lot of people expecting a massive year from Vernon, myself included. Then, as usual, over the last few years, injuries derailed Vernon’s season.
The most significant advantage of bringing in Everson Griffen is availability more than ability. As mentioned above, the only considerable time missed came in 2018. He came back in 2019 with 15 games started and showed he still had the burst and strength to dominate physically. The crazy part of this whole scenario is that the Browns have the cap to keep them both for a year should they choose. However unlikely that might be it would make for a nice rotation and third-down presence. Andrew Berry knows he needs another rusher, and Griffen is the best value left on the free-agent market. Expect the Browns to push harder to bring Griffen to Cleveland as soon as they can.
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