As his rookie contract neared its end, Brandon Graham‘s name surfaced in a couple trade rumors over the offseason, but Philadelphia is no longer thinking about parting ways with the outside linebacker. In fact, according to Geoff Mosher of CSNPhilly.com, the team has actually approached Graham about the possibility of completing a contract extension.
Mosher reports that discussions on a new deal for Graham got underway a few weeks ago, with the team proposing a four-year extension. However, the two sides aren’t close to anything at this point. Per Mosher, the contract structure has been a sticking point, and the possibility that Graham could land more money and longer-term security on the open market is complicating talks.
Graham, 26, had been up and down during his first four years with the Eagles, but the former first-round pick is enjoying the best season of his career in 2014. Pro Football Focus’ metrics (subscription required) place Graham fourth among 3-4 outside linebackers, despite his relative lack of playing time (423 defensive snaps). Graham has already matched his career high with 5.5 sacks, and has 44 overall quarterback pressures, per PFF. He’ll be in line for his first start of the season this weekend, with Trent Cole sidelined.
Graham’s strong season has certainly increased his value, so it will be interesting to see if the Eagles have the flexibility to keep him in the mix while Cole and Connor Barwin remain under contract. The team is currently projected to have a combined cap hit of nearly $18MM for those two players in 2015, so adding another few million for Graham would mean committing a decent chunk of the cap to one position. Of course, Cole’s future with the team isn’t necessarily guaranteed, considering his cap number balloons to $11MM+ for 2015.