Could the Eagles deal Brandon Graham or Trent Cole for another veteran?
The Eagles are in the midst of a widely-publicized transition on defense. The team is going from a traditional 4-3 set to a hybrid defense that mostly relies on 3-4 principles. With several veterans on the roster that fit the Eagles old way of doing things, there will more than likely be an exodus of tenured assets.
Defensive ends Trent Cole and Brandon Graham have spent their entire careers in Philadelphia. The duo's respective careers are completely different, but their future with the Eagles could be very similar. Cole is entering his 10th year in the league, is a former Pro Bowl and is third on the team's all-time sack leaders list but is coming off the worst statistical season of his career. Graham, on the other hand, has been in the league for three seasons and was basically consider a bust until a breakout year in 2012. Both are traditional 4-3 defensive ends.
The pair of Eagles defenders are making nice salaries and do not seem long for the roster due to fit. If the team can find the right trade partner with the right trade compensation, Graham or Cole could be ousted. One team in particular may be a good fit for an Eagles trade, especially with Graham. A report by the Cincinnati Enquirer recently stated that 6'7" rusher Michael Johnson is unlikely to reach a long-term deal with the Bengals before the franchise tag deadline for extensions. Johnson's size and ability to play outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense seem to be right up Billy Davis' alley. Also, keep in mind that Davis, who coached for the Browns for the last two years, has a had a divisional close-up at Johnson during the peak of his short career. Perhaps the Eagles could workout a deal involving the two up-and-coming talents.
For Cole, a trade would likely have to be made with a team with a lot of cap room and the ability to capitalize on the Cincinnati alum's talent in the short term. A team like Detroit or Tennessee could be a good fit for Cole. The Titans have a hefty contract with safety Michael Griffin who was rumored to be a possible cap casualty earlier this offseason after an off-year. It is possible that the Eagles and Titans both see an opportunity improve their defense and make the swap.
While both of the proposed deals are highly unlikely, we have learned with Howie Roseman that anything is possible. If Roseman can workout an NBA-like player-for-player deal, it may be more beneficial to the team than taking an uncertain draft pick. Team in the league don't want to give talented players away, but if they can capitalizeon value, they will be more likely to pull the trigger on a deal.
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