Brandon Graham just signed a three-year extension with the Philadelphia Eagles. How does that impact the edge rusher market?
On Friday, the Philadelphia Eagles announced that Brandon Graham isn’t hitting the open market. The 30-year-old edge defender, who has spent his entire career with the Eagles, will remain in the City of Brotherly Love on a three-year contract worth roughly $13 million dollars a year. The deal will make him the seventh or eighth highest paid defensive end in football.
This is great news for the Eagles. They held onto an underrated player who has been critical for their defense, and are getting him at a lower price than what he would likely get on the open market. And Graham gets to stay with the team that took him at No. 13 in the 2010 draft.
The deal also thins out an already thin class of free agent edge defenders. Many think Graham would have received a better deal in free agency, especially considering that other top edge defenders such as Frank Clark, Dee Ford, DeMarcus Lawrence, and Jadeveon Clowney are expected to stay with their current clubs. With Graham officially off the market, Trey Flowers is expected to be the best available edge defender, with Preston Smith and Dante Fowler Jr. also high on the list. Flowers, who had 7.5 sacks and three forced fumbles in 15 games for the New England Patriots in 2018, is expected to be worth around $17 million dollars per year.
Graham’s deal with the Eagles comes on the same day that Ian Rappaport and Mike Garafolo report that the New York Giants are considering trading Olivier Vernon. Vernon joined the Giants three years ago, signing a 5-year, $85 million dollar contract. He still has two years and $30 million dollars remaining on that deal.
Vernon finished 2018 with seven sacks, one forced fumble, and one fumble recovery. He hasn’t been a monster on the defensive line, but he’s consistently produced. He’s missed nine games in the last two seasons with ankle injuries.
Teams who are looking to improve their defensive line might also look to the 2019 draft. Some of the top edge rushers in the draft include Nick Bosa from Ohio State (his brother, Joey Bosa, went No. 3 overall to the Los Angeles Chargers in 2016) and Clelin Ferrell from Clemson.