If you look at the stat book, Brandon Graham had an average year as a pass-rusher for the Eagles in 2016.
If you watched him play, whether it was for one game or for all 16, he was an undeinable force on the Birds defensive line.
Pro Football Focus ranks Graham as the ninth best player in football last season, with 5.5 sacks only telling part of the story of a player who pressure quarterbacks with exceptional regularity.
So it comes as no surprise that the Philly Inquirer’s Jeff McLane is reporting that Graham wants to get paid. He deserves it, with just $6.5 million coming his way in 2017. Fellow Eagles pass-rushers Vinny Curry (five years, $42 million) and Fletcher Cox (six years, $102 million) have been paid handsomely by Philly over the last two seasons. Graham’s contract makes him the 28th highest paid defensive end.
“Can’t talk about contract stuff right now,” Graham told McLane, neither denying nor confirming the report.
Philly is holding voluntary workouts and has been for a few weeks ahead of rookie minicamp starting this weekend, and voluntary minicamps beginning on May 23 for veteran players, and according to McLane, Graham will likely stay away for a while as he contemplates his next move.
But is McClane’s report accurate? NFL reporter Jason La Canfora says it’s not:
Reports of Brandon Graham contract dispute are unsubstantiated. Am told he’s with his family in Detroit and eager for the season to start
— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) May 10, 2017
The Eagles are not in stellar shape salary-capwise and could be forced to make some tough decisions on players like Jason Kelce and Ryan Mathews anyway. Graham forcing their hand would make things a bit more difficult.
Whether Graham shows up for full team practices on May 23 will tell a lot about his intentions.