Inside Voices: Graham Not Out Of Picture

Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco

Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco

The league year begins in just over a week. Here’s the latest Eagles buzz as free agency approaches and the draft draws closer:

* The Eagles still have interest in re-signing Brandon Graham. The two sides are expected to meet early this week, we’re told, presumably to try and knock out a deal.

It’s understandable why the Eagles would want to hold onto the 26-year-old. He has had a high production rate in two years under Chip Kelly, turned into a solid special teams contributor this past season and is already familiar with the system and culture. Without him, they would likely have to dive into the free-agent pool for help. And while they could theoretically grab someone like Jason Worilds, whom they’ve shown interest in previously, they would probably have to overspend to get him. Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: Talent Better Suited For a 4-3?

NFL: New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles

Today’s question comes from Silvio on the Birds 24/7 Facebook page:

Two of our best young defenders (Vinny Curry and Brandon Graham) are better fits for a 4-3 scheme, and we are underusing them and risking losing them. Also, Trent Cole and probably Fletcher Cox are more suitable to a 4-3, while only Connor Barwin is a true 3-4 player. If the target is maximizing your talent, does it make any sense keeping this odd front?

Thanks for the question, Silvio. I actually think the job the coaching staff has done with the front seven in the past two years has been the biggest success story on defense. Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: On the OLB Market

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

The deadline for teams to designate franchise or transition players is a week from today (March 2). By that time, the expectation is that the Chiefs will either lock up or place the franchise tag on Justin Houston, preventing the top pass rusher in this free-agent class from getting loose.

The three next-best edge rushers, per RotoworldJerry Hughes (Buffalo), Jason Pierre-Paul (Giants) and Greg Hardy (Carolina) — will be coming out of 4-3 defenses if they come out at all. It’s not until you get to the middle of the list and Washington’s Brian Orakpo when you will find an active 3-4 linebacker that might actually be available. Read more »

What They’re Saying About The Eagles

Photo Credit: Kevin Jairaj - USA Today

Photo Credit: Kevin Jairaj – USA Today

The dead period of the NFL calendar is almost over with the NFL Combine slated to begin on Wednesday. As free agency and the draft inch closer, here’s what the national media are saying about the Eagles.

Jason La Canfora of identifies Jeremy Maclin as the Eagles top priority this offseason:

Letting DeSean Jackson walk a year ago will probably haunt Chip Kelly for a while. So now Jeremy Maclin has him over a barrel a year after the Eagles were able to re-sign him on the cheap while coming off an ACL injury. With the quarterback position unstable — or at least unproven — this team needs to keep skill players who fit and Maclin is the obvious starting point. If I can find a trade partner for Trent Cole, I’m doing it, and I am releasing Riley Cooper before his salary becomes guaranteed next month.

Read more »

Free-Agency Notes: Will Worilds Shake Loose?

Photo courtesy of USA Today

Photo courtesy of USA Today

Jason Worilds is a name to keep in mind as we inch closer to the start of free agency on March 10.

The Eagles were interested in the 26-year-old outside linebacker last offseason but the Steelers kept him off the market by placing the transition tag on him, a move that cost them just shy of $10 million. If they chose the same course of action this year, they would reportedly have to pay Worilds closer to $11 million.

“Jason had a good year for us last year,” Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “He is still a young player. He is probably still an ascending player. I don’t think you’ve seen the best of him, either, as a Steeler or as a potential player for someone else’s team. He is definitely someone that we will consider keeping. We will see where the market goes.”

The Steelers are currently projected to be slightly over the salary cap for 2015, and that’s without Worilds on the books. Read more »

Eagles Offseason Outlook: OLB

Mark J. Rebilas / USA Today

Mark J. Rebilas / USA Today

Throughout the next two weeks, we’ll take a position-by-position look at where the Eagles stand going into the offseason. We have covered the quarterbacks, wide receiversrunning backs, tight ends, offensive line and defensive line so far. Now it’s onto the outside linebackers.


There are all kinds of question marks at this spot going into the offseason. The biggest one concerns Brandon Graham, who is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent.

The second concerns Trent Cole, who is due a base salary of $10 million and carries a cap hit of $11.625 million for 2015.

That means two of the three outside linebackers who were in the rotation last year (Connor Barwin being the third) face uncertain futures. Marcus Smith II, meanwhile, couldn’t get on the field as a rookie and was shuffled back and forth between outside linebacker and inside linebacker. The coaches hope he’ll show progress in Year 2, but that’s certainly not something they can count on. Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: More Pass-Rush Help?

Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco

Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco

Today’s question comes from reader Andy, via e-mail:

How do you feel about the current state and future of the LB corps? They have two free agents in Brandon Graham and friend of the commenters Casey Matthews. Can they keep Trent Cole at his present price? Will Marcus Smith II ever see the field? Is ‘Meco done-o? The only non-question it seems is Mychal Kyndricks. Is that too many questions for one Wake-Up Call?

If I’m being perfectly honest here, Andy, yes, that’s way too many questions. We’ve got a whole offseason to get through here and need to spread the wealth!

So let’s split it up the topics you mentioned. We wrote about DeMeco Ryans yesterday. And we’re currently rolling out offseason outlook pieces for each position. So today, let’s talk about the outside linebackers and the pass-rush. Read more »

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