The Eagles are working on a new deal for defensive end Brandon Graham, according to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports. Graham has racked up six sacks this season — his career-high is 6.5 — and he currently ranks as the fifth-best edge defender in the league (out of 112 qualified players) per Pro Football Focus.
Graham is still under club control through 2018 as a result of the four-year, $26.5MM deal he inked in 2015, a deal that looks like a bargain now. Despite some rumblings that he would hold out of training camp this summer, he never did so and firmly indicated that he never planned to hold out. Nonetheless, the Eagles did add incentives to his current deal in August and now it seems they are prepared to reward him even more.
Philadelphia, of course, is 9-1 and is on the short list of Super Bowl favorites. The team also has a history of being aggressive in locking up key members of its roster, even late in the season (the Eagles signed Timmy Jernigan to a lucrative multi-year deal several weeks ago).
As La Canfora notes, Graham is something of a late-bloomer, but he has thrived under defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz and his impact goes far beyond his raw sack totals. He is a key cog in the club’s defensive success, and GM Howie Roseman is ready to pay him accordingly. La Canfora does say that the two sides have a fairly large gap to bridge, but the team’s interest in getting something done soon is genuine.
Eliot Shorr-Parks of NJ.com (Twitter link) says that if Graham and the Eagles can agree to terms, his extension would likely lower his cap hit for 2018 (currently $7.5MM) to free up some space. After all, as Shorr-Parks observes in a separate piece, the cap hits for Jernigan’s new contract are out, and they are significant.
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