Eagles Stud Pass Rusher Reveals Lofty Goal: ‘Trying to Get a Ring’

Brandon Graham

Getty Eagles veteran pass-rusher Brandon Graham hypes up his teammates on the sideline.

Brandon Graham is in the best shape of his life. Credit a newfangled diet and nutrition program where he gets healthy meals dropped off on his porch twice a week. It’s been hard work avoiding cheat meals like pizza and “good soul food” but it’s paid off. Graham admitted it’s the best start of his 11-year career, including the Super Bowl season. He’s on pace for a career-high 14 sacks.

“I will say that this is the best start that I’ve had, you know, since I’ve been here,” Graham told reporters. “Even during the year we won the Super Bowl, ended up getting some at the beginning and some at the end. I think that this has been the most consistent I have been as far as, like, back-to-back games with sacks and stuff.”

But the Detroit native has grandiose goals, bigger fish to fry — no, that kind of cheat meal isn’t allowed — and hopes to belly up to the Lombardi Trophy. The Eagles know all they have to do is get into the playoffs and anything can happen. Graham also has a pretty specific set of personal goals to check off his bucket list: the 32-year-old pass rusher has never been voted to a Pro Bowl or named first-team All-Pro.

“I’m feeling good. I’m happy where I am,” Graham said. “Hopefully I can get up on that wall. That’s always been a goal of mine, get up on that Pro Bowl wall. Really, this year, I’m trying to go All-Pro too. I’m trying to do it all. I’m trying to get a ring and, like you said, get some individual accolades because of how I’m feeling.”

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D-Line Coach Says Graham Playing at ‘Elite Level’

Coaches don’t often throw around superlatives unless they mean them. So when Eagles defensive line coach Matt Burke told reporters Graham was playing at a high level, an “elite level,” it certainly raised eyebrows in the room. There is no question the Michigan product has been getting overlooked around the league for years.

“I think he’s playing at an elite level,” Burke said. “I really do. I think sometimes Brandon gets overlooked a little bit. I think he’s playing at a high, high level. At this point in the season, I’d put him up against any guy in the league from production numbers, rush numbers, sacks, TFLs, hits, he’s just been very productive.”

Graham ranks third in the NFL in both sacks (6) and tackles for loss (9) while his 10 quarterback hits are tied for 13th. He’s also as clutch a player as there is in the league as evidenced by his game-sealing strip-sack last week versus New York. He’s kind of making a habit out of knocking the ball loose from quarterbacks with the game on the line. Isn’t that right, Tom Brady?

Graham Mentioned in Raiders Trade Proposal

Graham’s name has loosely being mentioned in trade rumors if the Eagles were to be sellers at the deadline. It seems unlikely considering the NFC East title is right in front of them but it’s not out of the question. He’s due $13 million in base salary in 2021 and carries a cap hit of $17.21 million, per Spotrac. Philadelphia is projected to be $63.63 million in debt next year.

According to Bryan DeArdo of CBS Sports, Graham would be a perfect fit out in Las Vegas where the Raiders defense has recorded just seven total sacks this season. Graham has 57 career sacks and ranks fourth all-time in Eagles’ franchise history. Instant upgrade.

While acquiring him would be costly (Philadelphia would likely want a Day 2 draft pick for him), Graham would be an immediate upgrade for a defense that has recorded just seven sacks thus far. Would the Eagles, who at 2-4-1 are in first place in the NFC East, consider trading Graham? Graham’s age, along with the fact that he is due $17.91 million next season, make the Eagles trading him a possibility, along with the fact that Philadelphia has two promising young defensive ends in Josh Sweat and Derek Barnett.

Trading Graham seems highly unlikely due to the reasons outlined above. The Eagles aren’t going to accept anything less than a second-rounder for their stud defensive end. Plus, the decision to sell would indicate the team had thrown the white flag on 2020. Graham is not only their best pass rusher but he’s their emotional leader, the heart and soul of the Philly defense.

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