The Packers and free-agent defensive end Everson Griffen have mutal interest.
Most fans would agree that, in the kindest terms, the Green Bay Packers offseason has been lackluster heading into the 2020 NFL season. Whether you look at free agency or the draft, general manager Brian Gutekunst’s second act was not nearly as inspiring as his work just one year ago. Yet, there could be a bright light on the horizon with a late free-agent signing.
No, the Packers aren’t connected to Jadeveon Clowney, the biggest name remaining on the free-agent market. However, the franchise could have a shot at signing another high-impact defensive lineman, a former rival in defensive end Everson Griffen.
According to NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport, Green Bay has been interested in the former Vikings standout and the free agent is also interested in a potential move to Titletown ahead of the 2020 campaign.
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As noted, Minnesota remains interested in Griffen and it’s implied that there are other teams on the hunt to sign the veteran defensive end as well. But for the Packers, signing Griffen at the start of training camp — or even later on — would be a splash move that the defense might actually need.
Everson Griffen would give the Packers defense a welcome shot in the arm.
Despite Blake Martinez leaving and some potential needs for depth on the offensive line, the only signing or draft pick of consequence that Green Bay made this offseason was inking linebacker Christian Kirksey. While he’s been impressive when on the field and a relationship with Mike Pettine, the former Brown has struggled with injuries as of late. That’s hardly a high-impact signing, even if it’s one that could be a lottery ticket.
Looking at the defensive line, though, the Packers could use an injection of quality depth. Kenny Clark is a stud and Dean Lowry is a fine player. But there is little confidence in the likes of Tyler Lancaster, Kingsley Keke or Montravius Adams being impact players this season. Griffen could change that.
While Griffen would likely have to make a transition from 4-3 end to 3-4 end given his size at 6-3, 273 pounds, he would provide quite the pop up front. The threesome of Clark, Griffen and Lowry is one that can generate a push on the interior, thus allowing last year’s free-agent gems, Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith, to get free off the edge.
Taking the possible concerns at inside linebacker into account, the Packers would have to feel more comfortable knowing that they have a strong ability to create pressure and control the line of scrimmage. That makes life easier on both the linebackers and the secondary, though the defensive backs are expected to be strong this season.
In any case, Everson Griffen could be the missing piece that Green Bay needs to feel much more confident in their defense as a whole. It’s far from a sure thing at this point but, with mutual interest, Gutekunst should be doing everything in his power to get a deal done.