Eagles defensive end Brandon Graham is in his eighth season and is the longest-tenured player on the Birds' defense. He currently leads the defense with four sacks. Recently, I slowed him down just long enough to ask him some questions. The topics included the Eagles' 5-1 record and facing a key offensive weapon on the Redskins.
Gunner: With a 5-1 record, are you guys enjoying having that target on your back? Everyone in the NFC is gunning for you guys right now.
Graham: They didn't give us a chance in the beginning. We were going to be at the bottom of the NFC East. We got a lot of new guys, but we didn't have the chemistry, and now all we do is work. Nobody is worried about 5-1 right now. We're just worried about the Redskins. It's the next game up. We have another opportunity to go out and win a game. I guess after the season we'll look back and say, 'OK this is what we did.' I don't see guys getting caught up in 5-1. We just work.
Gunner: Speaking of the Redskins, a guy you have to watch closely Monday night is RB Chris Thompson. How special is this guy? He's their leading rusher and leading receiver averaging almost 19 yards per catch.
Graham: Man, he's good. He has good balance, good vision, fast. He's everything you want in a running back. I think we have a good challenge up ahead. We just have to play team defense, and rally to the ball. Get numbers to the ball and we should be fine.
You can see the extended version of my conversation with Graham Monday night at 7 p.m. on Eagles Pregame Live on NBC Sports Philadelphia+.
The Eagles gave Nick Foles a little raise on Friday, reworking the Super Bowl MVP’s contract, a league source confirmed.
Basically, the Eagles are rewarding Foles after he helped the franchise win its first-ever Super Bowl a few months ago.
Foles, 29, is still entering the final year of his contract with the Eagles, but the new deal also includes a mutual option for the 2019 season, a source confirmed to NBC Sports Philadelphia. The mutual option will still allow Foles the possibility to test the free agent market next season, but could leave the door open to a possible return beyond this upcoming season.
Mike Garafolo and Ian Rapoport from NFL Network first reported the revised contract, which includes a $2 million signing bonus and “several millions in incentives if he’s the starter and hits various benchmarks,” according to Rapoport.
That part makes a ton of sense. If for some reason Carson Wentz isn’t ready to play in 2018 or if he goes down again, Foles will have a chance to earn what might be closer to starter money.
Foles was set to earn a base salary of $4 million in 2018, with a salary cap hit of $7.6 million on the contract before Friday’s renegotiation.
Wentz and Foles grew very close last season — third-string QB Nate Sudfeld too — and have both been very selfless in a situation that would be awkward for many others in the league. But both have been incredibly selfless throughout the entire process. Just this week, Wentz admitted he had to fight jealousy but was truly happy for his teammate and friend, who became the Super Bowl hero (see story).
Earlier on Friday, Foles tweeted out this photo with his wife and daughter from the NovaCare Complex. That’s a $2 million smile.
It turns out winning the Super Bowl is pretty good for business.
The NFLPA on Friday released its top 50 player sales list from March 1-Feb. 28 and the Eagles were the most represented team on the list, with five players ranking in the top 50.
3. Carson Wentz
17. Zach Ertz
22. Nick Foles
43. Alshon Jeffery
45. Jay Ajayi
This list is a combined total of all officially licensed merchandise, not just jerseys. It shouldn’t be surprising that Wentz is near the top of this list, behind just Tom Brady (1) and Dak Prescott (2). Even though he was injured late in the year, he was having an MVP season before going down and is obviously the Eagles’ quarterback of the future.
But Foles making the list at 22? That’s pretty impressive. Remember, for most of the 2017 season, Foles was just a backup on a two-year deal. He had to make a heckuva comeback once he took over for an injured Wentz and led the Eagles to their first Super Bowl championship. Foles returned to the top 50 list after two years off of it.
Weirdly, Foles sold more drinkware product from Wincraft than any other player — 10 times more than any other player!
And there are likely a lot of Eagles fans walking around the city with players on their legs. Five of the top 10 sellers of Strideline socks were Eagles: Foles, Wentz, Chris Long, Ajayi and Jeffery.
Only Brady and Odell Beckham Jr. sold more in Fathead decals than Wentz.
Here’s the top 10:
4. Ezekiel Elliott
5. Antonio Brown
6. Aaron Rodgers
7. Beckham Jr.
8. Russell Wilson
9. Rob Gronkowski
10. Derek Carr