How Brandon Graham’s return impacts the Eagles

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Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Brandon Graham celebrates after a sack against the Buffalo Bills during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 26, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

The Philadelphia Eagles and Brandon Graham have agreed to a one-year deal worth around $4M, according to Derrick Gunn. This is a relief to Eagles fans everywhere, who get to see one more rodeo of BG in midnight green who is 35 years old and in the latter stages of his career. He’ll likely be an Eagle for life, but how else does this impact the team?

What does BG provide the Eagles?

The Eagles know what they’re getting in Brandon Graham. He’s been an Eagle for his entire 13-year career and is one of the core veteran leaders on this team. Even in a reduced role last year, he still put up 3 sacks and 6 QB hits. He’s shown that he consistently make big plays when it matters most and would be a real asset for any young player looking to learn under his tutelage for a year.

They don’t have to overspend, either. $4M for a player who has been so important to the culture of this team, as well as someone who can still wreak havoc in the backfield, is a bargain, and honoring team legends is something that Howie Roseman has done extremely well over his tenure as GM.

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Philadelphia Eagles general manager Howie Roseman, center, stands with defensive end Brandon Graham (55) offensive tackle Lane Johnson (65), defensive tackle Fletcher Cox, and center Jason Kelce (62) after the NFC Championship NFL football game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, Jan. 29, 2023, in Philadelphia. The Eagles won 31-7. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

The domino effect

It’s no coincidence that within mere minutes of the report, that there was another citing that the Eagles are actively shopping Josh Sweat along with Haason Reddick. The reason given was that the Birds are reportedly high on the development of Nolan Smith, who is going into his sophomore season, and it would make sense to give him an expanded role in his second campaign with the team.

Are the Eagles targeting Bryce Huff?

With that said, losing a pass-rusher as productive as Reddick, and another as consistent as Sweat, is going to have a huge impact on the team. That must incite that Roseman has a plan to replace up to two starting-level pass-rushers, and Bryce Huff appears to be one of the names he’s locked in on.

Huff has spent his NFL career with the New York Jets and broke out for a huge 10-sack season last year. The Jets are willing to allow him to test the open market, knowing that a 26-year-old with that kind of production is going to command a hefty price tag.

The Eagles could well be an ideal suitor. They have upwards of $40M in cap space, and if they keep at least one of Sweat/Reddick, then they’ll have a menacing EDGE rotation for 2024, without factoring in the possibility of adding another name in the early rounds of the 2024 NFL Draft.

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Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) passes over Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Josh Sweat (94) during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 5, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

As much as it seems counter intuitive for the Eagles to be shopping players who have been so important to the team’s success, there’s a very clear plan in place and if Howie can cash in with some valuable draft capital to replace those players, then it’s even better.

Brandon Graham’s return is a big part of these decisions too. He is on a team-friendly deal not only ticks a box on the ‘team needs’ list, but affords Roseman plenty of cap space to go shopping for some longer-term options.

AP Photo/Matt Slocum