Eagles

Eagles Stay or Go 2023: Graham highlights edge list

Eagles

Reuben Frank and Dave Zangaro bring back Stay or Go in 2023, trying to figure out the futures of every Eagles player on the roster.

We already looked at cornerbacksreceiverslinebackersrunning backsdefensive tackles and interior offensive linemen.

Up today: Edge rushers and offensive tackles.

Derek Barnett

Roob: He’s still only 26, and with Brandon Graham possibly not returning in 2023, the Eagles could use a rotational edge rusher to play alongside Josh Sweat and Haason Reddick. Barnett only has 21 ½ sacks since the Eagles made him the 14th pick in the 2017 draft, but the more important number is $10.7 million. That’s how much dead money Barnett would count against the 2023 if the Eagles release him (as opposed to $3.1 million if they keep him). So he’ll be here and you just have to hope he can have a career year in 2023 like most of his defensive line colleagues had in 2022.

Verdict: Stays

Dave: The Eagles didn’t have a ton of significant injuries in the 2022 season but Barnett was one of them. He tore his ACL in the first game of the season, leaving the Eagles with a void at edge rusher they eventually tried to fill with Robert Quinn. Barnett is under contract but the Eagles don’t have to keep him. They might bring Barnett to camp and see how he looks but they shouldn’t force it either. And it might just be time to move on from their former first-round pick.

 

Verdict: Goes

Brandon Graham

Roob: This is a tough one. You know B.G. wants to play another year. Why wouldn’t he after a career-high 11 sacks in his 13th season? But it’s tricky because Graham doesn’t want to play anywhere else and the Eagles don’t really have the money to pay him what he’s worth and with Reddick, Josh Sweat and Derek Barnett all under contract, do they really need B.G.? But he’s an all-time Eagles legend, so you don’t want to do the wrong thing. We all thought B.G. would retire after the 2022 season and head straight to the Eagles’ front office. But his play changed things up. B.G. has earned almost $90 million in an Eagles uniform and if it makes sense for anyone to give the Eagles a hometown discount it’s him. Hopefully, they agree on a budget deal worth a few million for one year and we all get to say good-bye to Graham the right way.

Verdict: Stays

Dave: In a limited role in 2022, Graham finally hit the double digit mark in sacks. So this isn’t even about sentimentality. Graham can still play and his career might have been extended by becoming a more part-time player. He’ll be 35 by the start of the 2023 season but Graham is a guy the Eagles should want to keep around as long as the contract isn’t too high. And I think Graham will be amenable to a reasonable deal.

Verdict: Stays

Tarron Jackson

Roob: After playing over 250 snaps as a rookie, Jackson played only 27 this year, was released in October and finished the year on the practice squad. Not quite the career arc the Eagles were hoping. Jackson just hasn’t produced when he’s gotten opportunities, and while I expect him back in camp – the Eagles signed him to a futures deal – I don’t see him making an impact.

Verdict: Goes

Dave: The sixth-round pick from Coastal Carolina played in just four games in 2022 before he was released and signed to the practice squad. He’ll have a chance to battle for a job in training camp but I think both Johnsons are ahead of him.

Verdict: Goes

Kyron Johnson

Roob: He did play a lot on special teams, but I really didn’t see much of an impact. I just looked him up on Pro Football Focus, and he ranked 1,826th among 1,879 special teamers in 2022. Not ideal.

 

Verdict: Goes

Dave: This is one of the trickier ones to figure out. Johnson was a sixth-round pick out of Kansas last year and he played in 16 regular season games. In fact, he was one of the top special teams snap-getters all season but then the Eagles had him inactive for all three playoff games. That was curious. What makes it even more curious is that Johnson was tied for the team-high in special teams tackles in the regular season with 8. He’ll have to earn his job and he might be the last one in.

Verdict: Stays

Patrick Johnson

Roob: The only Eagle to play at least 200 snaps on both defense and special teams, Johnson carved out a nice niche as a special teamer and situational blitzer on defense. His 18 blitzes were 4th-most on the roster, and he turned them into five pressures, three QB hits and two hurries. Johnson was a 7th-round pick in 2021 and will always be fighting an uphill roster battle. I think he’ll be around in camp and pop up on the 53 at some point next year, but I don’t anticipate him being on the opening-day roster.

Verdict: Goes

Dave: The 25-year-old has quietly played in 33 games over the last two years as a seventh-round pick out of Tulane. He’s listed as a linebacker but Johnson has been an edge rusher in the Eagles’ scheme the past two seasons. Johnson played 213 snaps (21%) on defense in 2022 and had 11 tackles, 1 forced fumble and 3 QB hits. He shows flashes of his ability to rush the passer and I think he takes one of the last roster spots.

Verdict: Stays

Matt Leo

Roob: A fourth year on the practice squad? Why not? The Eagles are using the International Player Pathway program to keep Leo around as a free roster guy, and he’s actually the third-oldest position player on the roster, behind Lane Johnson and Darius Slay – he’ll be 31 before camp opens. Why do the Eagle keep running it back with Leo on the practice squad? I guess because they can.

Verdict: Goes

Dave: The Eagles have kept Leo around for the last few years because there’s no downside. They get a practice squad roster exemption for Leo thanks to the NFL’s International Pathway Program. Leo is 30 and he’s been with the Eagles since 2020. Could he be back on the practice squad? Sure. But it doesn’t look like there’s a roster spot for him.

Verdict: Goes

Robert Quinn

Roob: Living breathing proof that not every Howie Roseman move pans out. The Eagles gave the Bears a 4th-round pick for a guy who just seemed to have nothing left. And never seemed all that broken up about it.

 

Verdict: Goes

Dave: It just didn’t work out. The Eagles thought Quinn would give them a boost for the second half of the season and into the playoffs but he just didn’t have anything left. It was likely a combination of injuries and age but Quinn was a waste of a fourth-round pick. You love the Eagles’ aggressive nature to add at the deadline when they realized they had a Super Bowl contender but this is the second year in a row they’ve been stuck with a washed up edge rusher. He won’t be back and it’s hard to imagine another team watching his tape and thinking he has much left.

Verdict: Goes

Haason Reddick

Roob: With almost every good player on defense about to hit free agency, it’s reassuring to know that the Eagles’ best defensive player is signed for two more years. Reddick was so dang good this year. Still really bothers me that only seven of 50 voters listed him in their top three for all-pro voting. Shame the Super Bowl wasn’t played on a real field. Maybe the Eagles would have still lost, but at least the world could have seen what kind of player Reddick really is.

Verdict: Stays

Dave: The Eagles signed Reddick to a three-year, $45 million deal last offseason and he quickly became underpaid. That’s how good Reddick was this season. While he had some high sack numbers the last couple years, his consistency was impressive in 2022. Reddick had at least half a sack in 14 of 20 games this season and that’s after he didn’t register one in the first two games of the season. There aren’t many players in the NFL who rush like Reddick and it’s nice to see him finally get the recognition, making his first Pro Bowl and coming in fourth in DPOY voting.

Verdict: Stays

Janarius Robinson

Roob: Eagles signed the former 4th-round pick off the Vikings’ practice squad when Barnett got hurt, but he never did get an opportunity to play and was hurt much of the year anyway. What makes Robinson interesting is that the Eagles don’t really have much youth at the edge rusher spot. Robinson, who’s 23, will at least be worth a good look at camp.

Verdict: Goes

Dave: I’m looking forward to seeing Robinson in training camp this summer. The Vikings drafted him in the fourth round out of Florida State in 2021 but Robinson got hurt in training camp and missed his rookie season. He was released at final cuts this year and the Eagles claimed him. Robinson didn’t play at all for the Eagles in 2022 and actually had two trips to IR, the second one ending his season. I really liked Robinson coming out of FSU. He has long limbs and developable traits. I think he’d be worth keeping around but not sure if it’ll be on the roster.

 

Verdict: Goes

Josh Sweat

Roob: There was so much hype around Reddick – and rightfully so – but Sweat had a breakthrough year as well, with 11 sacks during the regular season and 1 ½ more in the postseason. Sweat is still only 25, signed through 2024 and has gotten better every year of his career. One of these seasons he’s going to have 17 or 18 sacks.

Verdict: Stays

Dave: The Eagles are in a really good spot with Sweat and Reddick as their starting edge players. In fact, that’s one of the better duos in the NFL. Sweat is already one of the Eagles’ greatest Day 3 picks in the draft. The 2018 fourth-round pick always had talent but the last two years as a starter have been great. He followed up his 7.5-sack season in 2021 with an impressive 11-sack campaign in 2022 and he also had 1 1/2 in the playoff game against the Giants. Sweat is a unique rusher and his athleticism was on full display when he returned that INT 42 yards against the Cowboys. After signing a three-year extension last season, Sweat is under contract through the 2024 season and he’ll definitely be back this year.

Verdict: Stays

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