If you can’t beat him, trade for him.
That’s what the Detroit Lions did this week when they sent a conditional 2021 late-round draft pick to Dallas for Everson Griffen, a 32-year-old pass rusher with more sacks against Detroit than any other team.
The 11-year veteran, who spent his first 10 seasons with the Vikings, faced the Lions 19 times, or 12.3% of his 154 regular season games. In those 19 games, he posted 16 sacks, or 20.8% of his 77 career sacks.
“Our journey continues to the great city of Detroit,” Griffen tweeted after the trade on Tuesday. “To the Detroit fans, y’all getting a … dog read to eat. @Lions Thank you for blessing my family with another opportunity to bEGreat. I can’t … wait.”
Because of COVID-19 protocols, Griffen won’t play Sunday against the Colts. His debut will come Nov. 8 at U.S. Bank Stadium against the Vikings, who already were anticipating a Griffen return with the Cowboys in Week 11.
“Just know that we’re going to get everything we’re going to get out of Griff,” said running back Dalvin Cook. “He’s going to be ready to play, so if he’s happy, I’m happy. That’s my brother for life.”
The Lions are 3-3 and in a win-or-else mind-set since general manager Bob Quinn and coach Matt Patricia were told by ownership that they’re job security depends on contending for a playoff spot this year.
With just eight sacks, Detroit has one of the league’s worst pass rushes. Griffen had 2½ sacks in a backup role for the Cowboys.
After eight sacks a year ago, Griffen voided the final three years of his Vikings contract. The team tried to re-sign him, but he opted for a one-year, $6 million deal with the Cowboys.
Even at a half-game out in the NFC East, the 2-5 Cowboys are starting to retool with an eye on the future. They announced that the conditional pick could be as high as a fourth-rounder.
So Griffen returns to the NFC North, where he also has 11½ sacks in 20 games against the Packers, three sacks in 19 games against the Bears and an urge to get his first one against the Vikings and quarterback Kirk Cousins next week.
“I thought [the trade] was interesting,” Cousins said. “I think he’s such a great player. I wasn’t looking forward to having to see him in a couple of weeks, but … we were going to see him at some point this year. Great player and great personality.”