Griffen deal lowers cap commitment at DE

Many were shocked at the numbers in Everson Griffen's contract, but the deal significantly lowers the Vikings' salary-cap commitment to the position as the overall cap goes up. We take a look at the numbers, comparing them to the last year's salaries at the position.

The Everson Griffen signing brought some shock when the numbers came in – five years, $42.5 million with $20 million guaranteed.

Nationally, the analysts came out against the amount that Griffen got, pointing out that he has started only one game for the Vikings in four years. That is true.

Then came the cost-per-sack analysts. If he is averaging $8.5 million over the five years, Griffen is being paid $1.54 million per sack based off his sacks last, $314,814 per quarterback hurry in 2013 and $944,444 per tackle-for-loss. Those numbers might be true, but they are also based on 2013, when he was frustrated at not getting the chance to be a full-time player and not having a permanent home as he bounced between tackle and end.

Griffen played in only 60 percent of the defensive snaps last year. Jared Allen played 91 percent of the snaps and Brian Robison played in 84 percent of the snaps.

Allen and Robison took up a combined $23.7 million of salary cap space in 2013, or 19.3 percent of the $123 million cap. Allen's cap number alone took up nearly 14 percent of the cap space.

For 2013, Robison's cap number is $5.3 million, or 4 percent of the cap. The complete details of Griffen's contract haven't been divulged yet, but the first three years of his deal are expected to cost $21 million. So, assuming a $7 million hit in 2014, it would take up 5.3 percent of the 2014 cap for 2014, set at $133 million.

Combined, Robison and Griffen's cap number take up about 9.3 of the 2014 salary cap – or almost 5 percent less than Allen's number alone last year and less than half of what the Robison-Allen combination took last year.

Griffen had half the sacks of Allen, but he also played in almost 300 fewer snaps than Allen, with many of those coming inside at defensive tackle.

Additionally, the salary cap is expected to continue rising in the coming years, with speculation that it should surpass $140 million next year and $150 million in 2016, meaning their percentage of cap will decrease.

As with all NFL deals, time will whether the Vikings commitment to a younger player with plenty of potential pays off, but for now they have gotten younger, filled a potential need, and decreased their salary cap commitment to the position.

Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.

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