The Eagles were able to pull off a last-ditch effort on Monday afternoon in order to re-sign Brandon Graham before the outside linebacker agreed to a new deal with the New York Giants. But what if Philadelphia wasn't successful and Graham left the Eagles, like many were expecting him to?
According to ESPN Insider Adam Caplan, the Eagles had another outside linebacker (not named Jason Worilds) on their radar: Dan Skuta. Our own Mike Kaye mentioned Skuta as one of the possible under the radar targets for the Eagles prior to free agency.
Skuta, who will turn 29 in April, instead signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars on Monday evening. The former Bengals and 49ers linebacker has started 22 games in 86 career appearances. 10 of those starts came with San Francisco last season. He recorded a total of five sacks in nearly 400 snaps played.
This is all moot now, but it should illustrate how fortunate the Eagles were able to keep Graham. He's two years younger than Skuta and a more valuable player. As I wrote back in February:
"In 2014, Graham finished first overall in Pass Rushing Productivity (PRP), which is a stat created by Pro Football Focus. PFF describes PRP as a formula that combines sacks, hits, and hurries (with hits and hurries three quarters the worth) relative to how many times a player rushes the passer. Graham recorded a total of 51 pressures on just 225 pass rush snaps, which is about two pressures for every nine snaps. There's no denying that Graham was critical to an Eagles pass rush unit that recorded an NFL second-best 49 sacks last season. His run defense wasn't bad at all either. Graham finished fourth overall in PFF's Run Stop Percentage, where a stop constitutes a "loss" for the offense. Then there's the fact Graham is also really valuable on special teams."
Skuta signed with Jacksonville on a five-year contract worth $20.5 million. For perspective, Philadelphia signed Graham to a four-year deal worth $24 million with $14 million guaranteed.