Nov 27, 2012, 3:00 PM EDT
In an absolutely stunning move, the Philadelphia Eagles have
announced the release of defensive end Jason Babin.
Andy Reid released this statement on the development:
“We appreciate everything that Jason has given this team
over the last couple of years. We wish him all the best as he continues his
career. By releasing him, this gives us an opportunity to give more playing
time to some of younger guys in the defensive line rotation.”
Babin was brought in last summer during the front office’s
free-agent frenzy, following defensive line coach Jim Washburn from Tennesse. A
first-round pick by the Houston Texans in 2004, Babin was labeled a draft bust,
and wound up bouncing around the league until his breakout 12.5-sack season
with the Titans in 2010. Last year, he finished third in the NFL with 18
quarterback takedowns, the 18th highest total in league history.
2012 has been a far different story obviously. Babin has
just 5.5 sacks (though that actually leads the team), and has been basically invisible for weeks at a time. Now 32
years old, it’s plausible he is simply slowing down. However, an unusually high-profile, mid-season
release such as this one suggests there is more to the story.
Babin signed a five-year contract worth more than $27 million, but
only the first year had a guarantee in the form of a roster bonus, with a signing bonus totaling $1M. There is only a negligible cap penalty in future years as a result of his
It’s worth noting Babin was one of the only free agents signed in ’11 that
appeared to have panned out. Turns out he was only a short-term fix for the
Birds’ pass rush.
It will be interesting to see how much interest Babin
generates now that he’s on the market. Prior to hooking up with Wash, the
two-time Pro Bowler spent the first eight seasons of his career with four
teams, including a brief stint with the Eagles, with only a modest 17.5 sacks
to show for it all. It seems the only scheme he’s ever fit in the NFL is the Wide-9, and there
aren’t too many other teams are saddled with that.
One of the younger guys Reid would like to get on the field
is undoubtedly second-round pick Vinny Curry, who was activated for the first
time this year on Monday night. It should mean more playing time for
Brandon Graham as well, likely Philip Hunt, too.
All things considered, it’s not too difficult to understand
where the team is coming from with this one. Babin has been a liability against
the run from day one, and now that the sacks have stopped coming, his
personality has lost any of its charm. Normally they could just stash a player with his potential on the
bench, but if he is just going to be a disturbance, then what’s the point with
this season all but over?
And so the house-cleaning begins. I doubt there will be many
more big cuts, if any at all, before the season is out, but clearly heads are
about to roll. Who’s next? Who should be?
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