Should Brandon Graham Stay?
By: Alex Matteo
We aren’t even at the start of Free Agency and the Philadelphia Eagles have been very active. If you’re over the age of 28 and on the Eagles’ you’re on the chopping block. From the trade of Carson Wentz to the releases of both Desean Jackson and Alshon Jeffery veterans are on the move. Previously we have discussed center Jason Kelce and Darius Slay as potential candidates to be moved this offseason. Today we will cover a few more veteran players for the Eagles who may be deemed expendable this offseason.
Brandon Graham, DE:
Man… as a fan this one would hurt. From the rough years early on in Graham’s career, to forcing the fumble with 2:13 left in Super Bowl 52, Graham has been through it all. Graham was one of the few bright spots for the Eagles this past season having eight sacks, two forced fumbles, a fumble recovery, 13 tackles for a loss and 16 quarterback hits. Graham showed he still has a lot of ball left in him. Should the Eagles decide to move on from Graham post June 1st they would be saving a $13 million on the cap this season. Currently, Philadelphia can afford to move on from Graham with Derek Barnett and Josh Sweat being on the roster still. Philadelphia would be able to address depth at the end position in the draft with a mid round pick.
If Graham is traded, it would make sense for the team to move him to a contender and give him a chance to win another ring. Releasing him would give him the freedom to go wherever he chooses. Regardless of how they move forward, Graham deserves the respect as an All-Time Eagles great. But hey that didn’t stop them with Brian Dawkins…. But that’s a conversation for another time.
Best Fit: Indianapolis Colts
With only Ben Banogu and Kemko Turay on the roster the Colts have a need at defensive end. They have the salary cap space to absorb Graham’s contract while not crippling the rest of their offseason. Would they be getting a 10-12 sack per year player? Probably not; however they will get a leader on and off the field who can make an impact and take some attention off of DeForest Buckner.
Malik Jackson, DT:
Unlike Graham, Malik Jackson is not as tenured in Philadelphia. In his two seasons in Philadelphia Jackson has played in a total of 16 games after missing nearly all of the 2019 campaign. Purely as a rotational player this season Jackson only started in six of the 15 games he played in. Jackson quickly became expendable with the addition of Javon Hargrave to pair with Fletcher Cox. If the Eagles were to trade or release Jackson post June 1st the team would be on the hook for $3.61 million on the 2021 books saving $2 million this season. While it is unsure how much Jackson has left in the tank, he could be a productive depth player.
Best Fit: Dallas Cowboys
Dallas’ did not have the season they would have hoped for. A very large portion of it was in part to losing Dak Prescott for the season. Another impacting piece was minimal production from the interior defensive line. DeMarcus Lawrence was being double-teamed almost every single snap he took since the interior couldn’t get any pressure. Jackson would be able to slide in as their DT2 next year and alleviate some of the pressure of Lawrence in hopes he becomes the double-digit sack player right before Dallas gave him the extension.
Marquise Goodwin, WR:
After opting out of the 2020 season the 30-year-old receiver has played in a total of 20 games dating back to 2018. Acquired for a Day 3 draft pick Philadelphia did not invest too much in Goodwin. He was a depth piece with the speed that could help teach some of the younger players how to be a pro. With Philadelphia having a very young receiving room in Jalen Reagor, Greg Ward, and Travis Fulgham the Eagles may decide to keep Goodwin around. However, that $4.5 million cap hit makes it very unlikely. Philadelphia is looking to get younger while not losing too much production. Keeping Goodwin would be a backward move.
Best Fit: New England Patriots
This past season New England had one of the worst offenses in all of the NFL. They had a total of 12 receiving touchdowns all year, with two of those touchdowns being thrown by wide receiver Jakobi Meyers. New England needs to add speed, depth, and talent to the offense to try and compete with Buffalo and Miami moving forward. Goodwin won’t be a WR1 for New England but he could be a player that would be able to mentor any young guys brought in and help teach them what it is like to be a pro.
Earlier in the offseason, the question was whether or not Philadelphia would enter a rebuild or a retool. That has been answered; Philadelphia is clearly looking to enter in a rebuild rather than a retool. This will likely be a multi-year fix. Purging players with bad contracts who aren’t a part of the long-term future due to age or production is the first step. The next step is to build organically through the draft like Miami has done so far. In addition to all the players who have been moved thus far and mentioned in this article, there are a handful of others who could be on the move are tight end Zach Ertz, center Jason Kelce, safety Rodney McLeod, kicker Jake Elliott and corner Darius Slay are just to name a few. Not all will be moved nor should be moved but it is very clear the youth movement is happening in Philadelphia.