With some fresh new blood entering the fold and potentially less snaps to go around, Brandon Graham might want to cash in while he still can.
Graham has stopped attending workouts for the Philadelphia Eagles and is not expected to show up for organized team activities (OTAs) later this month until the team renegotiates his contract, according to Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Graham might also skip mandatory minicamp in June.
Meanwhile, Jason La Canfora and Mike Garafolo are reporting that Graham won’t be holding out.
Garafalo is saying that there’s no sense of a contract push right now.
Re: Eagles’ Brandon Graham, source says he’s expected back soon for optional and mandatory work. No sense of a contract push right now.
— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) May 10, 2017
La Canfora is stating that Graham is with his family in Detroit and is “eager” for the season to start.
Reports of Brandon Graham contract dispute are unsubstantiated. Am told he’s with his family in Detroit and eager for the season to start
— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) May 10, 2017
So what the hell is going on?!
Graham signed a four-year, $26 million contract just two years ago in 2015 and the 29-year-old was arguably the best player on the Eagles’ defense last season. If there is some merit to McLane’s report, maybe he doesn’t like the fact that his teammate Vinny Curry is getting paid more handsomely than him despite a lack of production. Curry’s average salary is $9.45 million and is the 10th highest annually among defensive ends in the NFL. Graham, meanwhile, is tied with Robert Ayers for 20th with an average salary of $6.5 million. Curry, of course, agreed to a massive five-year, $46.25 million pact with the Birds last offseason.
Pro Football Focus ranked Graham as the second best edge defender in the NFL behind only the Oakland Raiders’ Khalil Mack.
Highest-grade edge defenders for the 2016 season:
1. Khalil Mack, 93.9
2. Brandon Graham, 93.3
3. Cameron Jordan, 92.1
4. Von Miller, 91.1 pic.twitter.com/WPZWWYFo0T
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) January 4, 2017
Graham was fantastic in his transition back from a 3-4 outside linebacker to a 4-3 defensive end. He had 5 1/2 sacks on the year and led the league in hurries with 39. His ability to set the edge in the run game and his high motor making plays down the line and chasing ball carriers down from behind was very impressive.
Despite what the box score says, Brandon Graham had a nice game, consistently beating Free to get pressure on the QB. Had a TFL too. pic.twitter.com/96bpOHeo42
— The Bitter Birds (@AdrianFedkiw) January 1, 2017
At 29 years old, I can understand why Graham would want to renegotiate his deal, especially with the way he played last year. Maybe that raise will come, but the cash-strapped Eagles currently have the least amount of salary cap space in the entire NFL, according to overthecap.com.
We’ll see what happens over time, but I don’t see how a possible new deal can get done.
Maybe Graham will get his money next offseason if he balls out again.