March 03, 2021
The Eagles are set to undergo quite a bit of change this offseason — in fact, it's already begun with the team changing coaches and trading away its quarterback — but it appears one constant will remain in Philly: defensive end Brandon Graham.
With Graham set to count for $17,928,000 against the cap this season, the final year of his contract, there was some thought that the team would look to move on from him this offseason, perhaps paving the way for some younger players to get added reps as the team begins its rebuild — they could've saved $13 million against the cap by designating him a post-June 1 cut (or trade), but only $716,000 if they made a move before June 1.
And with the Eagles already facing a massive salary cap crunch, they've decided to take Door No. 3, according to Derrick Gunn.
I’m told eagles and Brandon Graham are working on restructuring his deal— Derrick Gunn (@RealDGunn) March 3, 2021
That move, according to OverTheCap.com, will save the Eagles just under $9 million against the cap right away, which will be huge as Howie Roseman looks to get his team under the projected* $180 million salary cap before the league year opens on March 17. They're currently about $40 million over that number.
Obviously, whatever the team commits to Graham in 2021 would then be added back to their cap table, but it would likely be significantly lower with the Eagles able to extend some of that money into next season (or beyond) when the cap is expected to rise dramatically — and Graham is already counting against the cap due to his prorated signing bonus.
This may also wind up being an extension in addition to a restructure, as the Eagles could also add another year (or two) onto the veteran defensive end's contract as a way to spread out the money even further. And with Graham, 32, getting up there in years, this could be the final step in the making locker room leader an Eagle for life, something he recently spoke about with Zach Berman of The Athletic...
“I don’t want to go anywhere,” Graham said by FaceTime on Tuesday. “I know I don’t have long, but I know for me, I’m here in Philly. So when I’m (retired, I’m) either going to be working here or doing something in Philly to stay connected to the team. I don’t want to mess that up by just dipping out when things got a little tough. But who knows how it’s gonna go this year? Jalen (Hurts) might go in there and rock our world and lead this team down a road that I feel we could (go).” [...]
“I want to see it through,” Graham said. “I’d hate to leave and then next thing you know, bam, you’re back in the (Super Bowl), and it’s like ‘Dang!’ So I’m gonna stay. I’m gonna stay dedicated to the team as always and hopefully they ride with me until the wheels fall off.” [theathletic.com]
For Graham, who was speaking to Berman in order to promote his latest charity endeavor, the “Brandon Graham x Philabundance” sweepstakes, it's obvious that Philadelphia is more than just the place where he works. It's the place he calls home.
After the way his career in Philadelphia began — with being labeled a draft bust — few probably envisioned Graham being one of the heroes of the city's first Super Bowl, let alone that in 2021 he'd be the longest tenured member of the team (once Jason Peters is officially a free agent). He could also be on his way to making some Eagles history...
Brandon Graham is 30 games away from becoming the all-time leader in games played in an Eagles uniform. If he stays healthy for two years, he’ll break the record. Glad he’s sticking around. https://t.co/I41uWIuOuy— Joe Giglio (@JoeGiglioSports) March 3, 2021
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