The Philadelphia Eagles may have to revamp their defensive line, specifically at defensive end this offseason, depending on a couple of players’ decisions.
As all we know, veteran defensive end Brandon Graham is a pending free agent and reportedly plans to explore the market. However, the Eagles might also have to worry about what veteran backup defensive end Chris Long decides to do in regards to next season.
Long was on 94WIP a couple of days ago and spoke about his thought-making process heading into this offseason.
“I’d like to play football in 2019. I thought I had a strong year and felt good physically,” he said (h/t NBC Sports Philly).
“Listen, I know I’m an older guy. But, you know, I don’t think I’ve missed practice over the last two years. I feel like I’ve been durable and ready when called upon,”
The 33-year-old defensive end also added that the itch is still there to play, but things ultimately come down to what the Eagles’ front office does.
“At the end of the day, the itch is still there, I still love playing on Sunday. But as far as what happens, I’m literally just kind of sitting back and seeing what the Eagles do and who they bring in or don’t bring in and how deep that room gets. But I’d still love to play. But at the end of the day at 33, I could go either way.”
With the possibility of Graham not returning next season, the Eagles would definitely love to keep Long around for depth reasons. The two-time Super Bowl champion stepped up big time this season, especially when second-year defensive end Derek Barnett went down with a season-ending injury after the Eagles’ Week 3 game against the Indianapolis Colts.
Long played in all 16 regular season games and 59 percent of defensive snaps. He also had 6.5 sacks, which was the most he had since the 2013 season with the Rams (8.5).
Heading into next season, the former second overall pick is scheduled to make a base salary of $3.5 million with a cap hit of $5.6 million. Even though that amount is not horrible for a player of Long’s stature, the Eagles are currently tight on cap space.
According to OverTheCap.com, Philly is projected to be $14 million over the cap when the new league starts in March. With that being known, there will be many tough decisions made across the board to the 53-man roster for next season.
However, the good thing about this situation is that the ball is Long’s court. He can come back for another year with the Eagles or another team, or he can ultimately decide to hang up the cleats.
Whatever he decides to do, it should be interesting to see how it will affect Philadelphia going into next season.