Brandon Graham is the longest-tenured Philadelphia sports athlete. Once regarded as a first-round bust, Graham has forged an excellent career as the heartbeat of the Philadelphia Eagles with his involvement in the greatest moment in Philadelphia sports history.
Coming off a season-ending Achilles injury last season, Graham will be 34 years old during the 2022 season. The twilight of his career is upon him, and while there is clearly still plenty of production left in the tank, it appears that Graham is ready for an understandingly reduced role with the team.
The simple response to a take like this is understanding that a reduced role for Graham might be exactly what the former Michigan product needs. With less pressure on him to lead the team in snaps and tackles, Graham can be used in specific packages and roles that maximize his skillset. It also will prolong his very productive career, and it’s clear Graham isn’t thinking about stepping away, either.
Graham isn’t the only defensive lineman that is expected to see less of a role from last season. Derek Branett was brought back in a veteran minimum-like salary that is already considered his last shot of making a positive impression with the city of Philadelphia.
With the addition of Haason Reddick, Barnett’s role as a pass rusher is expected to be greatly reduced. While effective against the run, the fact Barnett’s committed more penalties than sacks has thrown him into the “bust” label through his first five years with the team.
With Brandon Graham, Derek Barnett, and even Fletcher Cox looking at some of their last years in Philadelphia, it helps that their reduced roles will be given a jolt with the double-team coming to a different player.
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