Many of us were expecting some contract extension news today.
Well, we got it. But it’s not exactly the news we were expecting.
NFL.com Insider Ian Rapoport reported Wednesday morning that the Minnesota Vikings and Pro Bowl defensive end Everson Griffen are finalizing a “massive” contract extension that would likely keep Griffen in purple and gold for the rest of his career.
#Vikings & star DE Everson Griffen are finalizing a massive 4-year extension to keep him in MIN thru his career, sources say. Had 2 yrs left
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) July 26, 2017
As Rapoport points out, Griffen has two years left on the 5-year, $42 million deal that he signed prior to the 2014 season. His current cap hit of $8.2 million in 2017 is third-highest on the Vikings.
Griffen is a two-time Pro Bowler (2015 and 2016) and has recorded 30.5 sacks in the last three seasons. His leadership and versatility have been a cornerstone of the drastic defensive improvement led by head coach Mike Zimmer since the 2013 season.
This contract extension will have several implications moving forward. The Vikings have a handful of young players that will be due for extensions in the next couple of years, including Anthony Barr, Stefon Diggs, Eric Kendricks, Danielle Hunter and whichever of Teddy Bridgewater or Sam Bradford winds up as the quarterback of the future.
Griffen’s extension could be a way for the Vikings to brace for those extensions. Vikings salary cap guru Rob Brzezinski may have worked to front load Griffen’s new deal so that the “massive” portion that Rapoport referred to is within this season and next season. This would create additional room for extensions that the Vikings will need to hand out in the near future.
In the meantime, Griffen gets paid like one of the best defensive ends in the NFL — which is exactly what he is. Remember when we were all upset about how the Vikings overpaid for Griffen after letting Jared Allen go following the 2013 season? Because I certainly don’t remember that.