Brandon Graham is Enjoying the Ride
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - Brandon Graham wants a contract extension and the Eagles just acquired a three-time Pro Bowl player who does similar things.
It doesn't take Nostradamus to make the next leap: perhaps trade-happy Eagles executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman would consider moving the popular Graham to create some much-needed salary-cap space and regain some badly needed draft capital.
If that's the plan, Graham isn't sweating it.
Appearing on the NFL Network, the Super Bowl hero downplayed the acquisition of Bennett having a potential effect on his future in Philadelphia:
“I am not worried," Graham claimed. "I pretty much let my agent take care of everything. I just enjoy the ride. That’s what I do.”
Set to enter the final year of a four-year extension signed back in 2015 Graham is set to count $8 million against the cap for a team that is currently almost $11M over the limit with the new league year looming. Moving Graham would give the Eagles $7M of his allocated money back for 2018.
Graham's agent, Joel Segal, was able to get his client some added incentives last year after Graham went back to Detroit for a very short period of time during voluntary work.
On the field, Bennett and Graham are very similar players -- difference makers on the edge who often move into the interior on obvious pass-rushing situations. They are both adept at both stopping the run and chasing the quarterback so the question of redundancy enters the equation.
Bennett is older, set to turn 33 in November, but is more cost-effective in 2018, counting less than $7 million against the cap.
A late bloomer, Graham turns 30 early next month and has unquestionably outperformed his contract over the past three seasons and when weighing value on the trade market, the former second-team All-Pro is certainly capable of bringing back more than the overpriced Vinny Curry.
From Jim Schwartz's perspective moving on from Graham would enable the DC to simply slide Bennett, who arguably is better at what Graham does than 55 himself, into B.G.'s role and still have an expanded piece of the pie for a player the Eagles are extremely high on, second-year pass rusher Derek Barnett.
Graham, though, insists that he's happy Philadelphia has added another impact player to the mix.
“I was excited because I know they are trying to go back and they are trying to win,” Graham said when asked about the Bennett acquisition. “All of these moves that we are making right now is to win the championship, get us another one.”
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen