Does Brandon Graham offer trade value for the Eagles?

Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

The Eagles open to dealing the former first round pick, but finding a buyer could be tough for several reasons.

The Eagles have just six draft picks in May's draft, which would be easily their lowest amount of selections since 2003, as Philly.com scribe Jimmy Kempski recently pointed out. In a draft considered the best in a decade, that would seem to be a major negative heading into the NFL's annual selection process. However, general manager Howie Roseman has a history of making several trades in the offseason and draft. His background with deals opens up an expectation that the Eagles will add to their draft total before and/or during the three-day event.

Outside linebacker Brandon Graham seems to be a popular name when it comes to trade rumors. The Eagles offered the former first round pick and a second round selection to Miami to acquire Dion Jordan earlier this offseason and Birds 24/7's Tim McManus recently reported that Philadelphia would be open to moving Graham "if the right deal comes along." The team has also made it a point to visit with several pass rushers leading up to the draft, so perhaps the writing is on the wall.

While it is fine and dandy to predict a trade for Graham, as McManus alludes to his aforementioned article, it may be tough to find value. Graham has a history of injuries, is in the final year of his contract and is only of value to 4-3 defenses. The final superlative makes Graham's market seriously limited. Roughly half the league has made the conversion to the 3-4 defense, so Graham would only fit with a certain number of teams, which likely impacts the Eagles leverage on a deal.

Graham would essentially be a one-year rental if he was dealt under his current deal. If a team wanted to invest in Graham by trading a draft pick, they would probably want to sign him to an extension. That said though, why would the team pay Graham based on minimal success? On top of that, why would Graham's agent want to settle for smaller dollars if Graham proves to be a talented 4-3 defensive end? It makes little sense for both sides.

In terms of value, a player on a one-year deal who has generally been considered a bust with his original team would probably not fetch much in return. The Eagles would likely see a return of a sixth or seventh round pick. While he has underperformed and is not much of a match for the 3-4 defense, is that really worth dealing him? Would the Eagles really want to just rid themselves of Graham for the sake of dealing him?

From Graham's perspective, a change of scenery would be a blessing. He is not likely to start over Trent Cole and the Eagles are likely to add a 3-4 outside linebacker in the first three or four rounds of the draft. Graham making the move back to a 4-3 defense would benefit him, as he could produce a quality year before entering free agency or possibly getting an extension from his new team. However, in an offseason that has offered no value for DeSean Jackson, Chris Johnson and Darrelle Revis, it is hard to believe the Eagles will get a quality return for Graham.

The best possible solution for the Eagles and Graham would be probably be in a player-for-player deal. Graham could dealt to a team that has a need at the defensive end position and a surplus of talent at another or a player that does not fit their new scheme. Graham is clearly expendable and other teams have players in the same boat, so perhaps that is how this will all work out. No matter how it happens, it does not seem likely that Graham is sticking around in Philadelphia for much longer.

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