Philadelphia Eagles Must Pay Brandon Graham


Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia Eagles must decide over the next month whether or not to pay Brandon Graham what he wants. According to a report by Geoff Mosher of Comcast SportsNet, Graham is after a “four-year deal in the $30 million neighbourhood, with $20 million guaranteed”.

This should be a no brainer, give Brandon Graham what he wants.

Brandon Graham had an exceptional season last year and he should have been starting instead of Trent Cole.

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Pro Football Focus

, Graham finished as the Eagles second highest rated defender behind Fletcher Cox. Graham led the Eagles with 39 quarterback hurries despite only rushing the quarterback 240 times. In comparison, Trent Cole rushed the quarterback 382 times and had only 26 hurries.

Brandon Graham isn’t simply a pass rusher though. He’s very good against the run too, ranking as the Eagles third best run defender. The only thing that holds Graham back is his ability in coverage. However, the Eagles rarely ask their outside linebacker opposite Connor Barwin to cover. Trent Cole only spent 110 snaps in coverage last season and Graham only spent 72 snaps in coverage.

Anyway, is Cole really any better than Graham in coverage? I love Cole just like any other Eagles fan but he’s due $12m next season, the Eagles can cut him and save $8m and use that money on Graham. Even if the Eagles believe in Marcus Smith II, he is better suited on Connor Barwin’s side of the defense.

The Eagles do not have a franchise quarterback to pay right now so they should have extra money that they can spend on defenders. They have no studs on defense that they need to pay immediately except Fletcher Cox and Mychal Kendricks. The Seahawks manage to pay the majority of their defensive studs and will still be able to afford giving Russell Wilson a huge contract, money shouldn’t be a problem.

The Eagles desperately need pass rushers and they won’t find anyone better for 2015. It’s likely that the Eagles secondary will be terrible again next season and they therefore must have a good pass rush to try and make up for it. If the Eagles can’t rush the quarterback or cover, they won’t win 10 games again that’s for sure.

If you look at the price of other pass rushers around the league, $7.5m per year appears reasonable. Jason Worilds is a good 3-4 outside linebacker but he has not proven himself to be any better than Graham. Worilds contract, per Over The Cap, costs the Steelers $9.8m per year. Paul Kruger also averages $8.1m per year for the Browns and he did not have a better season than Graham last year.

Pass rushers will never be cheap or easy to find. The Vikings rotational pass rusher Everson Griffen earned himself $19.8m guaranteed last offseason after impressing the Vikings in limited snaps playing behind Jared Allen. That deal looks good business for the Vikings now as Griffen had 11 sacks and 40 quarterback hurries last season. Brandon Graham was still more productive than him last season.

The only problem is Brandon Graham himself. The fans in Philadelphia have been very critical of him and he’s better suited to a 4-3 defense. However, if he likes Chip Kelly and Billy Davis and believes that this team are headed in the right direction, I’m sure he’d be happy to stay here as long as we pay him the money that he feels he deserves.

Don’t overthink this Eagles – Pay the man!

Next: Eagles Scout: Shane Ray Scouting Report

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