INDIANAPOLIS — The Eagles announced Friday that their longest-tenured defender, DE Brandon Graham, signed a three-year contract extension through the 2021 season.
NFL Media's Ian Rapoport reports that the soon-to-be 31-year-old, whom the Eagles drafted in the first round in 2010, will make between $12-14 million on the new deal, placing him among the NFL's top 10 defensive ends in terms of annual salary. That would be a solid haul for Graham, whose four sacks last season were his fewest since 2013. Graham has never reached double digits in sacks but had a career-high 9½ in 2017 and has 42½ alongside 17 forced fumbles in nine seasons.
Graham might not be a profific sack artist, but he's consistently disruptive and extremely durable, having missed only one combined game since 2011. That dependability, and the Eagles' familarity in Graham, surely weighed into the contract that'll keep one of the top available pass rushers from hitting the open market.
So what about that veteran pass-rush market? Graham became the first domino to fall, but by the time the Dallas Cowboys reach an agreement with Demarcus Lawrence and Dee Ford, Jadeveon Clowney and Frank Clark receive franchise tags, it'll be slim pickings.
The good news? This could be the best draft in a decade for havoc wreakers up front, who are being measured Friday at the scouting combine and will hit the field for workouts Sunday. In my first mock draft, four of the top five picks are pass rushers and eight of the top 10. The Eagles could still pursue defensive help up front early in April, especially inside next to Fletcher Cox, but the Graham extension increases their flexibility to target their few other remaining needs, including running back and offensive tackle.