Graham says Eagles ‘working on' deal to bring him back in 2024

Graham says Eagles ‘working on' deal to bring him back in 2024 originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

The Eagles lost a legend earlier this week when Jason Kelce retired but the team is working to keep another legend in the building.

On the latest Takeoff with John Clark podcast, veteran defensive end Brandon Graham indicated that the Eagles and his representation are working on a deal to bring him back for the 2024 season.

“Well, we’re working on that,” Graham told Clark. “But my plan is to play one more year.”

Graham does fully expect to return to the Eagles in 2024 after playing last season on a one-year, $5 million deal.

“Oh yeah, man. There was no question, man,” Graham said. “I couldn’t end it like that. But I do understand Kelce’s reasoning behind what he gotta do. Opportunity is calling.”

Graham, who turns 36 next month, was a first-round pick in 2010 and is already the longest-tenured professional athlete in the City of Philadelphia. He has always said one of his goals was to play 15 years in the NFL and 2024 would be Year 15.

No Eagles player has ever played 15 seasons for the team. Just Graham and Chuck Bednarik have played 14 seasons with the Eagles. And Graham is already the franchise’s leader in all-time games played:

1. Brandon Graham: 195
2. Jason Kelce: 193
t-3. Fletcher Cox: 188
t-3. David Akers: 188
5. Brian Dawkins: 183

In 2023, Graham was still an effective role player with the Eagles but saw his usage drop. He ended up playing 34% of defensive snaps after playing 43% in 2022. Since coming back from his torn Achilles in 2021, Graham has played in every game in the regular and postseason.

Kelce’s body told him to retire. What is Graham’s body telling him?

“Keep going one more year, for sure. I still feel like I can do it,” Graham said. “Because it’s a grind, though. I understand exactly what Kelce is talking about, man. I do understand sometimes you don’t get that full recovery that you normally do. But he is playing full-time too. So his case is a lot different than me. I’m only playing 20+ snaps a game. He’s playing a majority of the snaps in the game because that’s normally how O-linemen go. But I do know it might have took him a little longer to recover than normal.”

Graham said he appreciated Kelce’s vulnerability in that 41-minute retirement speech earlier this week. And he will miss having Kelce around the building in 2024. But there’s also a chance that Fletcher Cox won’t return either. Cox is a pending free agent but there there appears to be a strong possibility Cox will retire.

The core four — the four players who have been with the team for a decade-plus — could be down to two in 2024.

“It’s going to be me and Lane (Johnson). Me and Lane,” Graham said. “I think Fletch is on the fence for good reason. He play a lot, plays the majority of the snaps too. And recovery is definitely different for those guys because they’ve been playing at high levels for so many years too. I think the difference with me is that I done come back on a rep count. They done built me up during the season to let me play more as the season goes on.

“I just think that Fletch, he’s going to make the right decision for his family and that’s going to be soon, I’m sure, to let everybody know if he’s coming back or not. But I know it’s been a heck of a ride with him.”

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