December 03, 2017

What they're saying: Eagles are built for long haul – and they're not done yet

Eagles NFL
120317_Graham-Brandon_AP Brad Penner/AP, File

Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Brandon Graham could be next in line for a big contract extension.

The 2017 Philadelphia Eagles may have come out of nowhere to surprise the rest of the league with their 10-1 start, but this team isn't going to be a one-hit wonder. It's built for the long haul.

When the Eagles signed Alshon Jeffery to a four-year contract extension on Saturday, our own Jimmy Kempski pointed out that the Birds now have 20 of their 22 starters locked up for next season, with the two exceptions being running back LeGarrette Blount and linebacker Nigel Bradham. 

The former will likely be expendable with Jay Ajayi under contract for next season, while the latter's price tag likely increased this season as he's done an impressive job making everyone forget about the season-ending injury to stud middle linebacker Jordan Hicks. 

But if you take a look even further into the future, the Birds' projected roster remains impressive thanks to several players, like Jeffery, who have already been signed to extensions by Howie Roseman.

It's hard not to like that – unless, of course, you're a fan of one of the other NFC East teams.

One of the names not listed there, however, is defensive end Brandon Graham, who has already set a career high in sacks this season with seven through the first 11 games. He's already under contract through next season, but it appears there's mutual interest in the 29-year-old signing an extension in Philly, according to Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.

Per a source with knowledge of the situation, veteran defensive end Brandon Graham has been pushing back on efforts to ink him to a new contract.

Signed through 2018, the 2010 first-round pick is earning $6.5 million in salary this year. Next year, he’s due to make $6.75 million.  [profootballtalk.com]

And while Graham wants to be here long term, Florio says he's not in a rush to sign right now.

So why not take a long-term deal? Because the market, and the salary cap, continue to go up and up. Giants defensive end Olivier Vernon cashed in a couple of years ago at $17 million per year, and Graham may believe that forcing his way to the market — or worst-case scenario to the franchise tag — is better than whatever the Eagles are offering.  [profootballtalk.com]

After a slow start to his NFL career, Graham has been a beast the last couple of years and deserves to get paid. The question now, it seems, is how much of the Eagles salary cap Roseman is willing to commit.

And now, here's a look at what they're saying about the Eagles heading into their Sunday night matchup with the Seahawks in Seattle. 

Started from the bottom...

Tim McManus | ESPN.com

Tim takes a look at the NFL trend of teams going from last place in their division to first place the following season. And it's only a matter of time before the Birds wrap up the NFC East title.

It will mark the 14th season in the past 15 that a team finishes first in its division the season after coming in last or tied for last place. The New England dynasty aside, parity is alive and well in the NFL: Of the 44 teams in league history to go worst-to-first, 21 have done so in the past 14 years. The Eagles turned the trick once during that span, going from 6-10 to 10-6 in 2006... 

Of the teams to turn the trick over the past 14 years, only one of them -- the 2009 New Orleans Saints, who happened to have Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins in their secondary at the time -- went on to win the Super Bowl.  [espn.com]

The man team in the mirror

John Boyle | Seahawks.com

In 2013, an upstart NFC contender headed into December with a 10-1 record, a second-year quarterback who was an emerging star, a ball-hawking defense and legitimate Super Bowl aspirations.

Five years after being that up-and-coming team, the Seahawks are looking to stop a Philadelphia Eagles squad that, 11 games into the season, is following a similar script.  [seahawks.com]

All we want for Christmas

FOX Sports | @NFLonFOX

OK, this is actually pretty good. Sure, there's a throwing-snowballs-at-Santa reference, but it checks all the other boxes:

Making fun of the Cleveland Browns? Check.

Shots at Eli Manning and Tony Romo? Done, and done.

Ripping the city of Pittsburgh? Yup.

Veiled shots at Donovan McNabb and Andy Reid? Of course.

Fact-checkers are important

Joe Curley | @vcscurley

Following their win over the Bears on Sunday, we wrote about the Eagles penchant for group touchdown celebrations. They've not only been the best team in the league in terms of record, but they've also been the best when it comes to celebrating. 

But that doesn't mean everybody appreciates it, like Rams running back Todd Gurley, who will get a first-hand look at the Birds next week.

Bad news, Todd. The Eagles lead the league in touchdowns... 

RK TEAM TOTAL
TDs
1 Eagles 41
2 Saints 36
3 Cowboys 35
3 Patriots 35
5 Texans 34
6 Rams 33


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