Should the Carolina Panthers consider signing Shaquill Griffin to bolster their cornerback options when the free agency madness begins in 2023?
One of the biggest needs facing the Carolina Panthers this offseason is strengthening their cornerback options. That might sound strange to say considering the draft and financial investment in the position over recent years, but it’s the harsh reality.
Jaycee Horn is the only consistent performer at the Panthers’ disposal right now. Donte Jackson faces a difficult road back to full fitness after tearing his Achilles, which might never see the former second-round pick get back to his old self in a worst-case scenario.
The less said about C.J. Henderson and Keith Taylor Jr. last season, the better. Both were unable to produce the goods consistently when given prominent reps, with their dismal Week 17 outing at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers playing a leading role in Carolina missing out on a shock NFC South title in 2022.
Couple this with Ejiro Evero’s appointment as defensive coordinator and his intent to deploy nickel packages often, it’s not hard to see why this leaves the Panthers short. Going down the draft route is an option, but Carolina might also explore free agency as they look to hit the ground running with Frank Reich at the helm.
Carolina Panthers should consider signing Shaquill Griffin
One recent salary-cap casualty should be among the veteran contenders for Carolina. The Jacksonville Jaguars cut Shaquill Griffin this week, saving them more than $13 million and the defensive back is well known to general manager Scott Fitterer from their time together on the Seatle Seahawks.
In fact, Fitterer was co-director of player personnel in 2017 when Griffin was drafted in the third round. So this connection should serve the Panthers well if they chose to put a call into his representatives.
Griffin is a former Pro Bowler with proven credentials. However, his 2022 campaign was cut short due to injury after just five games, which made the decision to part ways an easy one from Jacksonville’s standpoint all things considered.
At just 27 years old, Griffin has a lot of football left. Looking at Carolina’s exceptional coaching staff assembled this offseason, he could even get better heading into his prime.
Much will also depend on the money involved. This could be the last chance Griffin has at a big payday and even though the Panthers are finally under the cap, financial flexibility is at a premium until further notice.
This would be a tremendous addition providing there are no further complications on the health front. Griffin has the experience to slot in seamlessly and looks like a nice scheme fit for Evero’s system – so the benefits are there for all to see.
Carolina needs all the help it can get across its secondary. Especially if Evero wants to switch Jeremy Chinn closer to the line of scrimmage where he can be more impactful.
There are other options, but Griffin ticks the boxes. Given Fitterer’s previous knowledge of the former Central Florida standout, it might provide the Panthers with a head start.
Regardless of whether it’s Griffin or another option, something has to be done. Otherwise, it could cause some severe complications in pursuit of a potential playoff challenge.