When Cortland Finnegan left during free agency, a hole was created in the Titans’ defensive backfield. Although the young and emerging Jason McCourty is fully capable of stepping up, Tennessee needed some long-term security for a middle of the pack secondary that allowed 226.8 yards per game last year.

They purchased that security today, signing safety Michael Griffin to a five-year deal worth $35 million, with a reported $15 million guaranteed. The deal removes Griffin’s franchise designation which would have paid him $6.22 million in 2012 had he signed the tender, which he didn’t although he was still in attendance for all of Tennessee’s offseason training activities.

Now he’ll make about $7 million annually, which should provide a model for Dashon Goldson’s new deal, the 49ers safety who’s also been franchised and is looking to make Eric Weddle money ($8 million yearly). Over the past five years Griffin ranks fourth among safeties with 17 interceptions, and he hasn’t missed a single game since he was drafted 19th overall in 2007. Meanwhile, Goldson has logged the same service time as Griffin (five years) with 10 interceptions over just the past three years, and his six in 2011 was tied for the second-best INT total in the league.

With Goldson refusing to sign his tender,¬†Griffin’s deal should be used as a blueprint, getting him into camp sooner and possibly preventing a holdout.