Philadelphia Eagles: Will Brandon Graham's Injury News Affect Free-Agency Plan?

Mike BurkeCorrespondent IJuly 13, 2011

CINCINNATI - AUGUST 20:  Brandon Graham #54 of the Philadelphia Eagles celebrates after making a tackle during the NFL preseason game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on August 20, 2010 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

When Brandon Graham tore his ACL last December, everyone knew surgery would be required for the Eagles first-round draft pick. What we didn't know until now is the extent of surgery the defensive end underwent.

It turns out that Graham also had a microfracture procedure performed on his knee. This announcement is alarming, as it's a pretty serious procedure.

The Eagles had no comment about this news, but you have to imagine that team officials knew all about it. Apparently, they decided to keep it close to the chest.

Staying away from the politics of the matter, it makes you think about the status of the position heading into the 2011 season. It's already been stated that Graham would be "a real stretch" to be ready for the opening game, but now it seems like he could miss even more time than originally expected.

The Eagles still have Trent Cole, a stud at the position. However, they lack a real impact player to line up opposite of him. Graham was supposed to be that guy, and maybe he will be someday. That day likely won't be anytime during the 2011 season, though.

As we wait and speculate about how the Eagles will approach free agency when it finally opens, this is just another wild card that gets thrown into the mix.

The biggest position of need on defense is clearly corner. Nnamdi Asomugha is the best player available at the position, but recent reports say the Eagles may not be as interested in him as we believe.

Could the Eagles want a more affordable player at the position, because they want to spend some money on a talented defensive end? I can't say I'm against that. They need serious help defensively, and no matter how much money they spend on a corner, I'd still like to see them try to get an impact pass-rusher.

Jason Babin has been a popular name being thrown around. He had a great season last year in Tennessee under Jim Washburn's watch. Could he make a return to the Eagles? I think it's possible, but he's definitely looking to cash in after putting up big numbers.

Ray Edwards, Cullen Jenkins and a slew of other options exist as well. The only thing we don't know is how the Eagles feel about the players they have at the position right now.

Juqua Parker or Darryl Tapp are the likely options to start across from Cole if they don't bring anybody in. Parker has been a nice option but is getting up there in age, and Tapp seems more like a rotational player than a starter.

The Eagles definitely need to address the corner position first, but I'd love to see them bring in a defensive end to compliment Cole.

We'll see what the plan is when free agency opens. Hopefully that's sooner than later.