This Eagles player is bucking trends. After all, the NFL is ageist.
By nature, most sports are. As people begin to decline naturally from their physical peak, the tiny margin of success they once enjoyed begins to fade. Their roster spot becomes challenged by hungry youngsters, and their viability as a contributor starts to wane. In addition, the game’s violent nature accelerates their athletic clock, rendering most limited and discarded entering their mid-thirties or before.
Not Brandon Graham, though.
2022 NFL Season
Brandon Graham entered the 2022 NFL Season coming off an injury and seemingly entering the twilight of his career. The now 34-year-old defender was limited to two contests last year following a torn Achilles. That injury this late in his career could have been career-ending.
Instead, the Eagles’ veteran is having one of his best years. He is enjoying a dominant 13th season in the NFL, ranking second amongst edge defenders in PFF overall grade.
Graham has been a force to be reckoned with this season. He has thrived in a deep defensive line rotation. As a result, the veteran has achieved a remarkable 91.2 overall PFF grade, tallying 36 total quarterback pressures, including 23 hurries, 19 stops, and two forced fumbles. He also already has 8.5 sacks and nine tackles for loss.
While Graham’s smiling personality, cheerful and cheeky, can fool you, he is genuinely violent along the edge of the defense. He had three sacks in the game against the New York Giants and looked like the most dominant player on the field. In the same matchup, he was credited with six quarterback pressures, a forced fumble, and four stops. He seems to be trending up, which is amazing considering how dominant his season has already been. The most impressive part is that he did all that in 29 defensive snaps.
The Career Of One Of Philadelphia’s Finest Trench Players
Brandon Graham has had quite a career.
A measure of consistency, the 6’2″, 265-pound edge defender has been sensational. Despite being undersized at the position, Graham was a first-round selection in the 2010 NFL Draft. He has played all of his 13 seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles.
He has had a knack for sacks, forcing fumbles, and occupying the backfield during his career. In his 174 total games, Graham has racked up 67.5 sacks, 444 tackles, and 114 tackles for loss. Furthermore, he has forced an incredible 21 fumbles, deflected eight passes, and even scored a touchdown. He made the Pro Bowl in 2020 and has been a fixture of force for the Eagles for a long time.
How Long Does BG Have Left?
Graham may well be the soul of the Eagles’ dominant defensive line.
Entering Week 15, Philadelphia leads the NFL with 49 sacks and 24 takeaways. While Graham does not pace the team in sacks, he is second with 8.5 and has proven to be a valued contributor. In addition, he loves to trash talk, with multiple clips of him jawing with offensive lineman and laughing hysterically at the imposition of his pass rush.
How long the veteran can keep producing at an elite level is unclear. After a season like this, it seems unlikely that he would retire. However, if he wants to leave on top, especially if the Eagles were to win the Super Bowl, it would make sense to make his final campaign this successful season. Philadelphia prepared for this in the offseason by signing sack leader and edge rushing weapon Haason Reddick, although the two have worked well with Josh Sweat to create a menacing rotation of edge pressure.
What Should The Eagles Do If Graham Wants One More Season
The Eagles should do all they can to retain Graham next season.
Despite being 35 years old, he holds so much value in the locker room and on the field. Furthermore, he is still producing at a high level, so it will be financially viable to keep him within the deep rotation.
It is unlikely that Graham would go anywhere else, as he has called Philadelphia home for the last 13 years. The Eagles must prioritize bringing him back if he is willing to play another season to ensure their spark plug is still occupying every opponent’s backfield.
What do you think the Eagles should do with Brandon Graham after this year if he is willing to play? Should he make the Pro Bowl?
Let us know on our socials, and as always, ensure that you follow us on Twitter for all of your sporting news.