Although he hinted earlier in the week that he’d accept less money to remain with the Eagles, defensive end Brandon Graham does plan to test the market, as he explained to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk.
“I love Philly but I owe it to myself and my family to explore free agency,” Graham said. “I’m in the business of doing what’s best for my family. I need to explore the market.”
Graham, who’s been with the Eagles since 2010, inked a four-year deal in 2015 that is set to expire in March. As Graham admits in his interview with PFT, he and Philadelphia have discussed a potential extension on numerous occasions since then, but no deal has ever come to fruition. The Eagles added extra incentives to his pact heading into the 2017 campaign, but did not otherwise amend his deal over the past four years.
If he does hit the open market, Graham could be joining a class of free agent edge defenders that’s overflowing with talent. However, players such as Jadeveon Clowney, Frank Clark, DeMarcus Lawrence, Dee Ford, and Trey Flowers are all candidates for the franchise tag, meaning Graham could be one of the best pass rushers that’s actually unfettered come March. Graham earned $6.5MM annually on his last contract, and — given his continued production and the NFL’s rising salary cap — should be in line for a substantial pay bump in 2019.
Graham is entering his age-31 campaign, but his production hasn’t fallen off in recent years. While his sack total dipped to just four in 2018, Graham still managed to affect rival passers by generating 33.5 quarterback pressures and 11 quarterback hits. Pro Football Focus graded Graham as the league’s ninth-best edge defender last season, assigning him exemplary marks in both run and pass defense.
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