Jul 28, 2011, 9:21 AM EDT
The first shoe has dropped for the Eagles in free agency, and to little surprise, it’s Jason Babin. The defensive end was said to be interested in re-joining the Birds since his position coach in Tennessee, Jim Washburn, joined the staff, and it looks like he’ll get his wish.
FOXSports.com’s Jay Glazer reports the 31 year old has signed a five-year deal that will keep the former first round pick in Philadelphia for the foreseeable future. He joins Trent Cole to form a pass rush tandem that combined for 22.5 sacks in 2010.
With the unfortunate news Brandon Graham had microfracture surgery in the off-season and likely would not be available to start the season, signing another end seemed to be a given. Since Babin had the best year of his career working with Washburn last season, it makes sense he would want to reunite with the coach who got the most out of him there.
Babin’s 12.5 sacks last season are almost half his career total the previous seven years. Selected by the Texans with the 27th pick overall in 2004, he never really panned out there or any of his following three landing spots, including Philly. Though he had a strong preseason with the Birds in ’09, he found playing time in the regular season was sparse.
With that in mind, five years seems a tad much. While what we’ve seen of Babin intrigues, you can’t deny he is a one-year wonder at this point. It’s certainly a positive career move to stick with the D-line coach that got a Pro Bowl season out of him, but now we’ll all be watching intently to see if he can do it again.
Update: The Eagles are protected in case the Babin/Washburn dynamic doesn’t work as planned. The five-year contract comes in at a manageable $30 million, with only $7 mil guaranteed. If it doesn’t work out, they can just cut bait. They also don’t have to worry about Babin holding Graham down, or not having the resources to extend Trent Cole.
The move is also odd from the standpoint that the front office rarely signs players over 30 to long term contracts. He doesn’t have the wear and tear of a typical eight-year veteran however. The Western Michigan product only started 26 games prior to last season.
And hell, maybe the Eagles really are “going for it.” We’ll see if there are moves on the way today.
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