Earlier this week, a report emerged that Brandon Graham is skipping Eagles voluntary workouts because he wants a new contract. Shortly after that, multiple other reporters said Graham isn’t holding out for a new deal.
So what’s the latest on this situation? Eagles executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman joined Angelo Cataladi and The Morning Team on SportsRadio 94WIP on Wednesday and was asked about Graham’s status.
CATALDI: Is it a concern that Brandon Graham isn’t attending workouts? What can you tell us about Brandon?
ROSEMAN: Well my favorite part of this story is the media on media crime and watching it from 10,000 feet. I do get joy out of seeing that. I’d say I gotta give the company line. It is voluntary workouts. 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 always is we’re never going to talk about contracts. He had a great year last year. He’s an important part of this team. And we fully expect that to happen in 2017 and going forward.
CATALDI: Has he given you any indication he’s not happy with his contract?
ROSEMAN: He has personally not done that.
CATALDI: Has his agent?
ROSEMAN: Again, I don’t want to go into contract discussions, but Brandon has been unbelievably positive about his role on this football team being here. I don’t get any dissatisfaction at all with him.
As you can see, Roseman denied that Graham has expressed unhappiness, but he didn’t deny the same for Graham’s agent. And that right there might be the explanation by the conflicting reports.
In addition to Roseman, Eagles head coach Doug Pederson was asked about Graham prior to Philadelphia’s rookie minicamp on Friday. Here’s what the head coach had to say.
PEDERSON: Listen, I love Brandon. And obviously, he and I have got a great relationship. He’s been here. And as you guys know, this is a voluntary offseason program. So a lot of this is out of my hands. He’s a guy that’s valuable to the football team and I’m not worried about him at all.
Q: DO YOU EXPECT HIM TO BE HERE WHEN OTA PRACTICES START?
PEDERSON: He and I had a conversation, as I do with a lot of the players. Again, the expectation is … would I like him here? Yeah. Voluntary, I got it. That’s the hardest part as a coach, is when you’re working on that type of schedule. It’s hard. But at the same time, he’s a guy that, a veteran player, understands his role, understands his assignment. I expect big things from him this season.
Based on that answer, it doesn’t seem like Pederson expects to have Graham in attendance for OTAs later this month.
Graham has every right to miss practice given the fact they’re voluntary, but it’s certainly not ideal because he’s a key player on the team. It was just a few weeks ago when he was talking about how he needs to step up as a leader, especially with Connor Barwin gone. It’s hard to lead and set an example when you’re not showing up to practice.
At the same time, I can’t really blame Graham for potentially wanting a new deal. He’s a really good player. And the Eagles gave Vinny Curry, who is a lesser player and doesn’t play as much, a lot more money last offseason. It’s not hard to imagine how that could be frustrating for Graham.
The feeling here is that this Graham situation ultimately won’t be a big deal. I expect Graham to eventually return, especially when mandatory minicamp rolls around. But we’ll see.