The Philadelphia Eagles and Brandon Graham are working out a deal to restructure the veteran defensive end’s contract ahead of the 2021 season, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported on Monday.
Such a move will help the Eagles free up more cap space in an offseason that has them on the verge of a semi-rebuild after going 4-11-1 last season.
Under his current deal, Graham is expected to make $13 million, which carries a $17.9 million hit against the cap. That deal is a huge number considering the Eagles are currently an estimated $17.9 million over the cap, according to OverTheCap.com.
Granted, that number is only inflated by the dead money that comes with Carson Wentz’s $33.8 million that they’re responsible for this year despite trading him away to the Indianapolis Colts.
A new deal would likely allow Graham to be an unrestricted free agent following the 2021 season. He doesn’t want to go anywhere, though, as he told Zach Berman of The Athletic last week.
“I don’t want to go anywhere,” Graham said. “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].”
The 32-year-old has spent each of his 11 NFL seasons with the Eagles, ranking fourth in franchise history with 59 career sacks, second with 104 tackles for loss, and third with 123 quarterback hits. He was still plenty productive in 2020, posting eight sacks and 16 quarterback hits. Graham has also been plenty consistent having started all 16 games in eight of the last nine seasons, missing just one in 2017.
But with the Eagles’ needs mounting upgrades are needed almost everywhere on the roster, meaning a restructuring of Graham’s contract could open the cap space necessary for Philadelphia to make moves to improve its depth chart.
“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.”
Restructuring his massive deal is one huge way of showing that dedication.