Philadelphia Eagles’ Howie Roseman touches on report of Brandon Graham’s hold out
After conflicting reports emerged Wednesday, Philadelphia Eagles general manager Howie Roseman appeared on WIP’s morning radio show Thursday to face questions about a potential contract dispute surrounding defensive end Brandon Graham.
But Roseman didn’t say much. He confirmed Graham has been absent from the team’s workouts this week, but aside from that, the Eagles’ executive vice president of football operations simply told radio host Angelo Cataldi he would have to trumpet the “company line.”
“It is voluntary workouts,” Roseman said. “Nobody can be compelled to be here. Brandon has been here all offseason prior to that, has had a tremendously positive attitude. Our one-liner is always, ‘We’re never going to talk about contracts.’ [Graham] had a great year last year, he’s an important part of our team, and we fully expect that to happen in 2017 and going forward.”
Roseman’s radio appearance came after The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Jeff McLane reported Wednesday that Graham, who earned an all-pro second-team nod last season, is planning to hold out of the team’s workouts in hopes of negotiating a new contract.
McLane cited anonymous NFL sources who said Graham has stopped attending the Eagles’ voluntary workouts. The report also said Graham would consider missing the team’s mandatory veteran minicamp in June if he doesn’t agree to a new deal, which would lead to a fine.
After McLane’s story published Wednesday afternoon, though, other media members claimed the report was inaccurate.
Graham retweeted a post from longtime NFL reporter Jason La Canfora that read, “Reports of Brandon Graham contract dispute are unsubstantiated. Am told he’s with his family in Detroit and eager for the season to start .”
In any case, Graham is coming off of a career-best season and is slated to make less money than teammate Vinny Curry, who has yet to start an NFL game.
Graham, 29, signed a four-year contract in 2014 worth $26 million. He’s in line to make $6.5 million over each of the next two years.
Before the 2016 season, Curry signed a five-year, $47.5 million contract extension that dwarfed Graham’s deal, but Curry struggled to make an impact on games last season. Graham, meanwhile, enjoyed a strong season and started all 16 games over Curry at left defensive end.
The Birds have edge-rushing options beyond Graham and Curry. They signed 32-year-old veteran Chris Long in March and drafted Tennessee defensive end Derek Barnett with the 14th overall pick in last month’s NFL draft.
Graham, though, is perhaps the Eagles best player at a crucial position. And any potential hold out could put stress on the Eagles, who have had to get creative already this offseason to remain under the salary cap.
Roseman said during his WIP appearance that Graham never told the Eagles he was unhappy with his contract. Cataldi followed up by asking if Graham’s agent, Joel Segal, had contacted Roseman to ask for a new deal.
The Eagles’ executive then backpedalled into a familiar refrain.
“Again, I don’t want to go into contract discussions,” Roseman said. “But Brandon’s been unbelievably positive about his role on this football team, being here and I don’t get any dissatisfaction at all with him.”
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