Print and Go Back AFC South [Print without images]

Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Griffin scored points since season's end

By Paul Kuharsky

The Titans were not super high on Michael Griffin after he finished his fifth season.

They put the franchise tag on him because it wasn’t too expensive, because they lacked alternatives, because they weren’t sure they could count on him for the long term.

Michael Griffin
Michael Griffin finished last season with 75 tackles and a pair of interceptions.
I know they were disappointed that his play didn’t maintain its early level or improve.

I’ve been critical of Griffin, who agreed to a five-year extension with the team Tuesday. He’s a good player when things are going great around him. When they aren’t, he tends to play worse. And that’s not a quality I want in a first-round pick or from a guy who gets a long term-contract.

That said, he’s done the most he could since the season ended -- accepting the franchise tag without complaint or threat, showing up for offseason conditioning, OTAs and, this week, minicamp. He’s at least trying to lead, and the team’s clearly seen positive change and increased professionalism and accountability.

"If things aren’t good around you, it’s difficult for a safety to play well for any team,” general manager Ruston Webster said. "He is a talented player with a lot of traits to play the position that others in the NFL don’t have. If he can just relax and play, we’re really working hard to make the team better around him."

We’ll need to see the money on the deal to get a sure sense of just what sort of deal this is.

Here are four other factors I suspect were at least partly in play here: