NFL Free Agency Rumors: New York Giants Closing In On Brandon Graham?


NFL Free Agency Rumors: Will New York Giants Land Brandon Graham From Philadelphia Eagles?

The New York Giants have plenty of holes to fill in yet another important offseason. Last season the offense was what the Giants were looking to revamp, and this time around it will be the defensive side of the ball. One of the areas the Giants need to fill a big void at is defensive end, especially a pass rusher. Could the Giants find one in the form of a former division rival?

Rumors are swirling as the NFL Free Agency tampering period opened up Saturday afternoon, and the Giants have had their fair share of rumors thrown around. They haven’t been connected as a landing spot for anyone yet, but could be adding their first player in Philadelphia Eagles’ Brandon Graham. Graham supposedly has plenty of offers on the table, and has narrowed his choice down to returning to the Eagles or leaving the nest and joining the Giants.

Graham, a 2010 first round draft pick of the Eagles, has been considered a colossal bust by some as his production has not added up to his lofty draft status. That is not all his fault though, as he has started only 13 games in five seasons in Philadelphia and the Eagles never fully committed to giving him consistent playing time. They even changed his position last season, as Graham is a natural defensive end but played linebacker for the Eagles last season.

The change was a positive one for Graham, as it resulted in tying his career-high with 5.5 sacks, which he also set in 2012. Even with the strong performance in the Eagles 3-4 defense in 2014, Graham is best suited to play in a 4-3 base defense, which is what the Giants run.

In Graham the Giants could be landing a potential steal, as he will not cost as much as you would expect from a former first round pick because he does not have the stats to back it up. But in his playing time with the Eagles, he also performed. According to Pro Football Focus, In 2014, Graham rushed the passer on only 225 snaps yet registered 51 total pressures. That equaled a 17.7 Pass Rushing Productivity, that trailed only Justin Houston and Pernell McPhee.

More importantly for the Giants, Graham is also strong against the run. Too often recently the Giants defensive ends struggled against the run, constantly losing contain that led to cutback runs and big gains for opposing running backs. Again according to Pro Football Focus, Graham played 189 snaps against the run and made 17 run stops. That led to a 9.0 Run Stop Percentage, which was the fourth best out of 3-4 linebackers.

While the Giants would undoubtedly use him more as a defensive end, they could use him in a hybrid role like they used the departed Mathias Kiwanuka in. Graham would effectively be replacing Kiwanuka, and if he continues playing the way he did in small sample sizes, he would present a major upgrade for the Giants across from franchise tagged bookend Jason Pierre-Paul.

With the Giants desperately needing help along the defensive line, Graham would be an outstanding addition to the team. Pierre-Paul needs help as last season’s free agency acquisition Robert Ayers is an injury concern after tearing his pectoral near the end of last season, and 2013 third round pick has some injury concerns as well, but inconsistency is what plagues him at this stage in his career.

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Adding Graham would alleviate some of those concerns, as the Giants would be getting a player that has been productive just without a consistent opportunity to show it. Convincing Graham to leave the Eagles may not be easy for the Giants, as they could probably give him more money, and at 27 years old when the season begins this could be his last money grab. The Giants need to figure out a way to convince Graham leaving Philadelphia is the best thing for him, and presenting a lot of playing time could do it.

Next: Who are 10 possible RB for the Giants in 2015?

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