FRISCO, Texas – There had been speculation this could happen, and now it's official.
The Cowboys parted ways with Everson Griffen on Tuesday afternoon, as they agreed to trade the veteran pass rusher to Detroit in exchange for a conditional draft pick, which can be as high as a fifth-round pick in 2021. The official terms of the trade haven't been disclosed, but the trade also allows the team to shed half of his $6 million salary.
The trade brings an abrupt close to Griffen's short stay in Dallas, which didn't quite live up to its potential.
The 11-year veteran signed with the Cowboys on the eve of training camp after an extended free agency. With 74.5 career sacks during his decade in Minnesota, including eight last season, there was considerable expectation that he could partner with DeMarcus Lawrence, Aldon Smith and Gerald McCoy to form one of the NFL's most formidable pass rushes.
That never materialized, though. McCoy was lost for the season at the outset of training camp, and the rest of the Cowboys' pass rush struggled to find consistency.
Ironically, Griffen's 2.5 sacks were actually second-best on the roster at the time of the trade, but the Cowboys have just 13 sacks on the season, which puts them firmly in the bottom half of the league. Griffen had 21 tackles (tied for ninth on the team) but his 14 pressures ranked third among the defense.
Last Sunday in Washington, Griffen was the only on-field captain for the Cowboys, who select their captains each week. In the game, he did record his first full sack since Week 2.
Back in the familiar territory of the NFC North, Griffen will now have two opportunities to play his old team in Minnesota.
Meanwhile, in addition to adding draft capital, this move allows the Cowboys to focus on some of their younger talent. Randy Gregory returned to the lineup last weekend but played just six snaps against Washington. It's a solid bet he'll see more snaps as the season goes.
Helping to fill the void could also fall on rookie Bradlee Anae, who has been used sparingly to this point in the season. The fifth-round draft pick has played just six defensive snaps on the year, and he was a healthy scratch Sunday against Washington. It's logical to think Griffen's departure might be an opportunity for him to get more playing time.