The NFL trade deadline is always unpredictable, and safety Michael Griffin being available qualifies. Do the Chicago Bears make an offer?
Tennessee Titans Add Griffin To List Of Trade Chips
At 2-5, the writing appears on the wall for the Tennessee Titans. With ongoing problems at the quarterback position the likelihood of them making a run is limited at best. So as the NFL trade deadline approaches the front office has begun placing player on the block. Included are wide receiver Nate Washington, linebacker Wesley Woodyard and perhaps most surprising, safety Michael Griffin. The 29-year old is a two-time Pro Bowler who has been with the Titans since 2007. He currently has amassed 50 tackles, two sacks and two interceptions in seven games this season. However, Pro Football Focus has been down on him, posting a grade of -5.9.
The question is what is the problem? Part of it is inconsistency. Griffin will go through a stretch where he plays outstanding and then suffer an uncharacteristic blown assignment. Part of it is on him, but it’s important to remember some key factors. Griffin played the first seven seasons of his career in a 4-3 defensive scheme. This past off-season the Titans made the switch to a 3-4. That puts different demands and responsibilities on a safety, especially one not used to it. Add in the fact he’s not getting much help from the cornerbacks and it’s key to point out not everything is his fault.
Chris Conte Health Issues Make A Deal Worth Exploring
Thus we come to the Chicago Bears. People have chanted about their needs for more stability at safety for years. That rings mostly true at the free position. Chris Conte does not lack for ability and remains on pace for a career high in interceptions but the fourth-year man simply cannot stay healthy. Shoulder and concussion problems have kept him sidelined often.
Rookie Brock Vereen hasn’t looked terrible but his inexperience is plain to see. The Bears would be remiss if they didn’t at least consider dealing for a veteran who is still young like Griffin. Stop and consider the positives.
- He’s versatile, able to make plays in coverage or rushing the passer.
- He’s experienced, which should mean fewer mental errors.
- He would be back in a 4-3 system that the Bears run under Mel Tucker.
The biggest obstacle for Chicago is not need but price. Never mind what they might have to give up for him. Griffin currently holds a base salary of $6.2 million for 2014. The Bears sit with just $2.8 million in available cap space. That leaves them with two options. Either they can make more room by restructuring the contract of one of their high-priced players like Jay Cutler or Brandon Marshall, or they send a player with similar value to Tennessee that the Titans might take.
The first option is more doable since it’s the easiest to accomplish. The problem is it would create salary cap problems down the road and that’s something GM Phil Emery avoids at all costs. As for the player-for-player idea, only one name pops up as conceivable. That would be Lance Briggs.
While it seems non-profitable for Tennessee at first glance, Briggs is a free agent in 2015. So his contract would come off their books right after the season ends. Essentially they would’ve shipped Michael Griffin out in exchange for an expiring contract to gain cap space.
Is it doable for the Chicago Bears? Yes but it will take some finesse and there may not be enough of a payoff for either side to pull the trigger.
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