3 Eagles land on top NFL players over 30 list (two are noticeably absent)

Fletcher Cox #91, Brandon Graham #55, Philadelphia Eagles (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Fletcher Cox #91, Brandon Graham #55, Philadelphia Eagles (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

The roster is the backbone of every football team. Perhaps the same can be said for coaches. What if we could insert Andy Reid as the Philadelphia Eagles head coach in 1988 and he would have gotten a hold of Randall Cunningham in his prime. What if he had Bud Carson as a defensive coordinator?

What happens if you swap out Carson for Jim Johnson and he would have had Reggie White, Seth Joyner, and Eric Allen in his wheelhouse? What happens if we could stick Brian Dawkins on those great Eagles defenses of the mid-80s to the mid-90s?

Kyrie Irving may not agree with this (or most NBA stars for that matter), but great teams and players need great head coaches. We also know that, regardless of who you have on the sideline, he won’t see success if he doesn’t have the horses.

The Birds have seen both good fortune and some bad luck since 2017. Some of that can be blamed on the roster, but much is expected from this team as they enter the 2022-2023 NFL campaign with an impressive-looking football unit on both sides of the ball.

Three Eagles earn spots on a ranking of the best NFL stars over 30 years of age. There’s also a noticeable absence.

Here’s an intriguing read when you have some time to check it out. Recently, CBS Sports’ Bryan DeArdo unveiled his list of the top 30 players in the NFL who are over 30 years of age. As you might imagine, the G.O.A.T., Tom Brady, sits at number one.

Three Eagles, Jason Kelce, Lane Johnson, and Darius Slay, crack the list at numbers 14, 15, and 25 respectively. Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham are noticeably absent.

Now, there are several ways that we can look at this. One, these lists are subjective and shouldn’t be seen as a big deal. Second, Cox’s decline has been obvious, and he’s no longer elite. Some would state that leaving him off of the top 30 is fair. Here’s something else to consider though.

Kirk Cousins cracked the list at number 20, and even though there are some guys behind him that some would describe as better players (Bobby Wagner, Terron Armstead, and Ryan Jensen for instance), we should at least argue Cox on the list over him.

B.G.’s exclusion makes more sense, and we don’t mean that disrespectfully. Graham, for quite some time now, has been hanging out among the best players in the NFL that never seem to get their due.

The last time we saw Brandon on a football field, he ruptured his Achilles. In 2020, he earned his first Pro Bowl nod which is inexcusable. He should at least have two more of those, especially after he earned Second-team All-Pro honors in 2016 and he notched 9.5 sacks and two forced fumbles in 2017 (and that doesn’t include the greatest strip-sack in Super Bowl history that came in February.

If you’re still confused about Graham’s brilliance, look no further than a 50-tackle and 8.5-sack campaign he produced in 2019. B.G. is, without question, one of the top 30 players in the NFL who are over 30 years of age.

Again, these things are subjective and should be taken with a grain of salt. As part of a nice Eagles rotation at the defensive tackle position featuring the likes of Jordan Davis, Javon Hargrave, and Milton Williams, Fletch, who had an off-year in 2021 by his standards should make some plays in 2022. We know that Graham will continue to contribute from the defensive end position.

Sure, Fletch probably isn’t worth the $14 million that he’ll be making in 2022, and as Eagles fans, we’ve grown weary of seeing overpaid guys underperform (if they perform at all). We’re most certainly growing weary of seeing players, both young and old, get too many chances.

There’s also been a stretch where guys have been given some bad deals and that’s handcuffed the franchise. It happens to every team at some point. Some might even say that the Eagles have some young culprits on the current roster who are guilty of this offense, Jalen Reagor and Derek Barnett for instance.

Sure, it’s frustrating to see your team’s inability to be aggressive in free agency when, more often than not, there is expensive but underperforming talent or a crop of old guys sitting on the injured reserve or the inactives list. We’ve all discussed how they’re tying up a large portion of the team’s salary cap.

We can’t blame the veterans all of the time because young guys get hurt too. The truth is every NFL team needs a good mix of veterans and young talent. Thankfully, Philly has that, and the good news is this. There is a silver lining here.

Hot. Ranking every offensive unit ahead of training camp. light

Philadelphia’s veteran leadership, for the most part, has stayed relatively healthy, and they are among the best players on the team. Brandon Graham, despite last year’s injury, and most of the Eagles stars who are over 30 have proven to be relatively durable.

That should decrease any fan’s stress level for now. We’re all looking for some positive signs in the coming campaign as the Eagles continue to build towards the future. Fletcher Cox, B.G., Big Play Slay, Jason Kelce, and Lane Johnson, through their play and leadership, will have a major say in making sure that happens.