An article from the Philly Voice really caught my attention… no, not that one…it was part of Jimmy Kempski’s “stay or go” series where he predicted that Brandon Graham would be out of the Eagles price range.
The Eagle have a lot of tough decisions to make this off-season. What they do with Graham may be their toughest.
Graham is a leader both on and off the field, and always seems to make the big play. He doesn’t exactly light up the stat sheet (4 sacks this season) but he was PFF’s 6th ranked 4-3 defensive end this season, and continued that strong play into the postseason.
Howie Roseman said in his year end press conference that this “isn’t a situation where we’re looking to have just just a youth movement” and “It’s very important that we keep our core together and that we maintain the culture that coach Pederson and his staff have built, and continue to keep leaders here to show our young players the right way to do things.”
While the Eagles are going to do everything they can to compete for a Super Bowl in 2019, they are not in a position to get into a bidding war for an aging veteran.
So, what are the alternatives if they were to let Graham walk?
-Draft his replacement?
Howie Roseman also mentioned at his year end press conference that this is a “historic d-line class.”
This could be just posturing from Roseman, but it makes a lot of sense for the Eagles to take a pass-rusher early in the draft to replace Graham and grow with Derek Barnett.
One name that keeps popping up from Senior Bowl practice is Montez Sweat. He has opened up some eyes this week and is a player to watch during Saturday’s game. Walter Football’s latest mock draft has him going 24th to the Oakland Raiders.
-Sign his replacement?
As we saw with Brandon Graham, and are now seeing with Derek Barnett, pass-rushers take time to develop. Even if the they do draft a d-end, they will probably look to add a veteran on a short term deal.
Don’t dismiss this idea. His name jumped right off the page of free agents because Joe Douglas absolutely LOVES him!!!
Suggs is getting up their in age (36) but still had 7 sacks in very productive 2018 season. IF the Ravens let him walk, he would make sense as a veteran leader and situational pass rusher. He also fits the bill as a short term financial investment.
Ziggy would cost a little more than Suggs, but he’s an interesting name given his history with Jim Schwartz.
Ziggy is coming off of another injury riddled season, so he could come cheaper than most think. If he were willing to take a one-year deal similar to Ndamukong Suh’s deal with the Rams, then maybe the Eagles would have interest.
If they wanted to go younger, Shane Ray (25), Shaq Barrett (26), and Dante Fowler (24) are intriguing names. All three players have underachieved but are talented. It’s possible that they could look to sign a one year to deal to increase their value for next off-season.
Even if big ticket free agents such as Jadeveon Clowney, Demarcus Lawrence, and Dee Ford make it to free agency, they would probably be out of the Eagles price range.
How would you handle the situation?
As a big fan of Brandon Graham, I would love to see the Eagles keep him, but I just can’t see a scenario where it works financially. Graham will have no shortage of suitors. He should be able to cash in on the open market.
In order to replace Graham it would make sense to both draft a player and add a veteran. We’ll have to see what they decide to do with Chris Long. It’s possible that he is the answer from a veteran stand point.
Re-shaping the defensive line will be one of the most important stories of the off-season.
Feature image: MLive.com