The Wolverine

April 2019

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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70 THE WOLVERINE APRIL 2019 BY AUSTIN FOX P hiladelphia Eagles defensive end Brandon Graham cashed in on a major payday with the club when he signed a three-year deal worth $40 million March 1, preventing him from entering the open market in free agency. Graham's best season came in 2017 when he compiled a career-best 9.5 sacks. He saw that number drop to just four this past year, which was his lowest total since 2013 when he had only three. The former Wolverine has remained a fan favorite in Philadelphia, how- ever, due to the strip-sack he recorded on New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady late in Super Bowl LII, which led to the organization's first NFL championship since 1960. Graham is also a favorite in the eyes of general manager Howie Roseman as well. "He fits us on and off the field, and is the kind of player and person you want to invest in," Roseman ex- plained after the signing. "When you talk about it, he's really a legend here in Philadelphia." Graham has spent his entire nine- year career with the Eagles, dating back to when they selected him 13th overall in the 2010 NFL Draft. He had publicly voiced his desire to remain in Philadelphia before he even inked the deal, and expressed his gratitude and appreciation after it. "My family and I love our situ- ation here in Philly," he said. "I've done well with what I've been given already and have saved my money. I wasn't that far off to where I wanted to be with the Eagles — we ended up making it work. I felt like we built something here, and I wanted to finish it out if it made sense, and it ended up making sense. "I could go and make money some- where else, but I wanted to make sure it fit schematically. I think Philly checks off all the boxes — I'm com- fortable, I love the city, and I love the upstairs. For me, it was a no-brainer." The MLB ZACH PUTNAM LOOKING TO REVIVE CAREER IN BOSTON Former U-M pitcher Zach Putnam (2006-08) headed to spring training with the Boston Red Sox this past February, hoping to revive his career. He enjoyed a successful four-year stint (finished with an ERA below 2.31 in three of the four years) with the Chicago White Sox from 2014-17, but missed all of last season after un- dergoing Tommy John surgery. Boston signed him in December, but the 31-year-old has been limited this spring with a hamstring injury   MICHIGAN IN THE PROS Brandon Graham Signs Massive Extension With The Eagles Graham was rated as the No. 50 player in the NFL for the 2018 season by Pro Football Focus, which ranked him tied for ninth among 113 edge defenders in the league. PHOTO COURTESY PHILADELPHIA EAGLES

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