With its defense soaring and talk of the Super Bowl increasing, the Eagles are working on securing one of their key players into the future. General manager Howie Roseman, notoriously aggressive in trying to extend his top talent, is working on a new deal for key defensive end Brandon Graham, according to league sources.
Graham is signed through 2018, but the Eagles realize his value to the team and are known for trying to extend their core players this time of year, before the season ends. They are hopeful of completing an extension for the pass rusher, and have an ongoing dialogue with his representatives. The Eagles gave an indication of their opinion of Graham, a first-round pick in 2010, before the season when they added some incentives to his contract. He's been something of a late bloomer, but a player who fits very well in their scheme under coordinator Jim Schwartz and who is having a career year.
Graham, who turns 30 in April, has six sacks already this season; his single-season best is 6.5 set in 2015. Graham struggled early in his career, with just 11.5 sacks in his first four full seasons. But he's registered at least 5.5 sacks in each of his last four seasons and his impact goes well beyond the raw sack numbers.
In 2016, Graham led the entire NFL in quarterback knockdowns and hurries, according to STATS, Inc., with 72.5, well ahead of Aaron Donald, who ranked second. He is not at quite that pace this season, but is a versatile and effective player who has excelled in the Wide-9 defensive alignment that Schwartz has mastered and he is someone the Eagles want to retain beyond 2018.
In years past the Eagles have moved to extend players like Vinny Curry and Zack Ertz late in the season and Roseman is never averse to make a deal. While the sides have a gap to bridge in this case, Philadelphia's desire to get something done is sincere, sources said.