Turns out that Titans S Michael Griffin agreed to a 5-year, $35 million deal that includes $15 million guaranteed, per league source.
That was a tweet from ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter on June 19, 2012. The Tennessee Titans had previously placed their franchise tag on Michael Griffin this past March. The Titans then had an opportunity to work out a long-term contract with him by July 15. Another team could've offered Griffin a contract. However, the Titans would've had the opportunity to either match that contract or receive two first-round draft picks.
The 27-year-old safety was the Titans' 19th-overall pick in the 2007 NFL Draft. Griffin has been a durable player as he has played in all 80 regular-season games since 2007. Griffin was a Pro Bowler in 2008 and 2010. His career stats include 389 tackles, 44 pass deflections, 17 interceptions and seven forced fumbles.
Griffin was often criticized for his play in 2011. He had 75 tackles with seven pass deflections and two interceptions. Griffin hasn't been an elite safety such as Troy Polamalu, a younger Ed Reed or even Nick Collins before his neck injury in 2011. Griffin is amongst the second tier of NFL safeties.
Titans enthusiasts should consider that Griffin's effectiveness was reduced because of a pass rush that had 28 sacks through 16 games. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were the only team who had fewer sacks (23). An underachieving pass rush will force defensive backs to cover receivers for longer periods. This reduces their playmaking potential. The Titans must improve their pass rush if they want to maximize Griffin's playmaking ability in the pass defense. Kamerion Wimbley should help to correct this issue.
How does this compare to Cortland Finnegan? Finnegan received a five-year, $50-million contract with the St. Louis Rams this offseason. The Titans already have two established cornerbacks with Jason McCourty and Alterraun Verner. Griffin was a more-valuable commodity because of the Titans' lack of depth at safety.
I'm pleased with the signing. Griffin is a good safety who has been extraordinarily durable throughout his first five NFL seasons. Next up? The Titans need to finalize an extension with McCourty before he becomes a free agent in 2013.
Joshua Huffman graduated from Middle Tennessee State University as a marketing major in 2009. He's been a Middle Tennessee resident from 1986-88 and 2001-present. He lived in the Upper Peninsula and Northern Wisconsin from 1988-01 and for approximately eight months in 2009-10 as he completed a 20-game volunteer position with the USHL's Green Bay Gamblers. His favorite sports organizations include the Green Bay Packers, Chicago Cubs, Nashville Predators and Tennessee Titans. He can be found on Twitter HERE.
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