Inside Voices: Graham Not Out Of Picture
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.
Graham is looking for something in the $7-8 million per year range and, after being a part-time player for much of his career, wants the opportunity to start. The Eagles don’t want to give much more than Connor Barwin is making (average of $6 million per year). While most agree that Graham is best suited for a 4-3, he likes it in Philadelphia and has transitioned well to the 3-4. If the money is right and he’s offered assurances when it comes to playing time, he could stay put.
Meanwhile, reports suggest that the Eagles are working with Trent Cole on a salary restructure. His leverage would obviously be affected by what happens with Graham.
* In years past, the Eagles have tried to lock up their young, core players as early as possible. So far, though, nothing’s cooking between the team and Mychal Kendricks as of late last week, we’re told. Similarly, CSN Philly reported that no extension talks had taken place between the team and Fletcher Cox as of the combine. Like Nick Foles, Brandon Boykin, Vinny Curry and the rest of that 2012 draft class, Kendricks and Cox are entering the final year of their rookie contracts and are now eligible to negotiate new deals. It will almost certainly become a top priority at some point, but it does not appear to be on the front burner at the moment.
* There has been lots of chatter about the Eagles trading with the Bucs for the No. 1 overall pick. While there is plenty of time between now and draft day, I don’t get the sense that anything is imminent. I believe the Bucs intend to hold onto the top pick. Could they change their minds if an insane offer is thrown their way? I would think so, but that’s not where things are right now.
* Still no movement on the Cary Williams front, per a league source. The 30-year-old corner is set to make $6.5 million this season and carries an $8.2 million cap hit. The thinking is that the Eagles are waiting to see how free agency plays out before making a move, and that’s logical. You probably don’t want to release Williams or approach him about a pay cut before knowing that reinforcements are on the way.
* Mark Sanchez is largely considered the top free agent QB on the market and no doubt is aware that Josh McCown just received $6.25 million in guarantees from Cleveland. Not sure if they’ll be able to pull it off, but I think the Eagles try and keep him.
* Lastly, Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean reports that former Packers inside linebacker Brad Jones is visiting the Eagles today. Jones (6-3, 242), a six-year vet, was credited with 10 special teams tackles in 2014, per Pro Football Focus.