The Philadelphia Eagles appeared to be preparing for a big run in free agency after releasing veterans Todd Herremans yesterday and Cary Williams this morning; that appearance turned into reality this afternoon, as they decided to release long-time pass rusher Trent Cole and allow former first-round pick Brandon Graham to test free agency.
Cole will be released very soon, according to CSN’s Geoff Mosher, after he refused to take a pay cut. This move will save $8 million against the cap, increasing the team’s total space to over $40 million. The 32-year old finishes his career second on the team’s all-time sack list with 85.5 (behind only Reggie White), but he struggled to transition to Billy Davis’ 3-4 scheme. After a very strong end to 2013, he contributed only sporadically in 2014 with just 6.5 sacks on the year. His coverage and run defense improved throughout the year, but not enough to justify the cap hit in Chip Kelly’s eyes.
Cole’s potential replacement, Brandon Graham, also looks to be headed out of Philadelphia. The Inquirer‘s Jeff McLane reported the following this afternoon:
The much-maligned Graham has never lived up to his first-round billing, and is commonly referred to as “not Earl Thomas” because the All-Pro safety was taken one pick later, but he finally looked explosive in the 3-4 this past season, making numerous key stops and sacks that caught the eye of his defensive coordinator. He is looking to take advantage of that strong campaign to cash in this offseason, and talks have not progressed sufficiently to avoid the Michigan product testing free agency.
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