Graham Wants a New Deal from Eagles
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - Super Bowl hero Brandon Graham is hoping to turn his franchise-changing strip sack of Tom Brady into a new contract.
The veteran defensive end, a second-team All-Pro in 2016 who essentially locked up the Eagles' first Lombardi Trophy earlier this month by getting to Brady, New England's MVP quarterback, late in Super Bowl LII, is hoping his contributions are enough to garner an extension in the coming weeks.
At 29 and set to enter the final year of his current deal Graham was a late-bloomer in his career but has turned into a real difference-maker on Jim Schwartz's defense, amassing a career-high 9 1/2 sacks in 2017.
Appearing on NBCSports Philadelphia Graham said he wanted to finish his career in Philadelphia and now is the time to ensure that happens.
"It's all about getting as much as you can while you can play because when it's over, it's over," Graham acknowledged. "I know Howie [Roseman] and those guys, if they want me here, they're going to make sure that they get me here. For me, I want to be here. Everybody knows I want to be here. They see the passion I have and I'm happy to be able to bring the trophy back to Philly."
Graham has already spent eight seasons with the Eagles as the 13th overall pick in the 2010 draft. Early in his career fans often derided the pick, lamenting the fact that Seattle All-Pro safety Earl Thomas was taken with the next selection while New York Giants edge rusher Jason Pierre-Paul was No. 15.
Graham has turned that thinking on its head in recent seasons, turning into one of the best edge players in football. By last season he continued to dominate at left end while also showing his versatility by moving inside in the team's nickel defense.
The front four is the strength of the Eagles' defense and the stars are Fletcher Cox and Graham.
Graham is set to make a base salary of $7 million in 2018 and the Eagles added $1.5 million in potential incentives to the final two years of his deal originally signed in 2015 before last season after Graham went back in Detroit during a portion of the team's voluntary offseason work.
"Now, it's just all about just making sense, just getting me protected for the future because obviously, I want to retire here," Graham insisted. "... It's all on what they want to do. I'm just going to embrace it, whatever it is."
Complicating matters is Vinny Curry's deal. A potential salary-cap casualty, Curry is a solid player at right defensive end but has nowhere near the impact of Graham yet makes more money.
In 2018, Curry is scheduled to earn a base salary of $9M and carries an $11M cap hit. On March 18 $5M of Curry's salary for the upcoming season becomes fully guaranteed so Roseman will likely make a decision on Curry by that date.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen