Jason Babin Likely Won't Be a Philadelphia Eagle in 2013

Bob CunninghamSenior Analyst IAugust 22, 2012

LANDOVER, MD - OCTOBER 16:  Quarterback Rex Grossman #8 of the Washington Redskins is pressured by defensive end Jason Babin #93 of the Philadelphia Eagles during first half action at FedExField on October 16, 2011 in Landover, Maryland. The Eagles won the game 20-13. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Win McNamee/Getty Images

In a season of disappointments, Jason Babin was more than just a bright spot for the 2011 Philadelphia Eagles.

In fact, the signing turned out to be an incredible bargain and nothing short of a home run, as Babin, making around $5 million for the season, racked up 18 sacks and earned a trip to the Pro Bowl. Usually, that type of production is going to cost a team north of $10 million.

In 2012, Babin is expected to be the starter across from Trent Cole and will have a lot of pressure on him to produce the way he has for the past two seasons, as he will once again be playing in Jim Washburn's scheme—the Wide 9—which has made him so effective.

However, and I'm sure the title gave away this little caveat, I would actually be surprised if Babin is even on the team in 2013.

Babin will be turning 33 next May and will have a cap number of around $6 million. In order to justify that number, Babin will have to be the starter and, at this point, I have a hard time seeing that scenario playing itself out.

At 33, Babin is sure to start slowing down. Chances are good that he will start to lose that burst off the edge that has made him so effective over the past couple of seasons, if he hasn't started already.

Babin has missed a ton of time in the offseason with a calf injury and, for those of you who slept through high school health class, an aching calf is not conducive to a quick first step or any type of sustained quickness.

So that alone could cause a loss of production for Babin in 2012 and, in turn, a reduction in snaps. A reduction of his playing time will mean more opportunities for Brandon Graham, Philip Hunt and Vinny Curry.

And more opportunities for Graham, Hunt and Curry means very, very bad things for Babin's future in Philadelphia.

Looking at those guys, I see starting potential in every one of them. Graham is going to get his opportunity to show what he can do largely because of where the team drafted him—13th overall in 2010—and he's my pick to break out in 2012.

Hunt has looked spectacular this offseason and is clearly looking to make a name for himself after life in the CFL, a la Cameron Wake. He has been, without a doubt, the best defensive player for the Eagles this preseason. Should he keep this up, it's going to get very tough to keep him off the field.

Then there's Curry, in whom, like Graham, the Eagles invested a fairly high draft pick. Curry was snagged in the second round and is just a rotational guy for now, but the Eagles and anyone who has watched Curry doesn't expect that to last very long.

Another thing those guys have over Babin is the fact that they're all in their early 20s and will be cheaper for the near future.

Combine Babin's age quickly becoming an issue along with the presence of three young, extremely talented and cheaper defensive ends on the roster behind him (for now) and things are not looking good for Babin in 2013.

Then take his recent injury woes and the stellar preseason the other guys are having and things start getting a little gray even for 2012.

That's not to say he won't open the season as the starter, but by the middle of the year I would not be surprised at all to see Babin used more as a third-down pass-rush specialist than an every-down type of guy.

And we haven't even discussed Babin's inability to play the run.

Andy Reid and the Eagles have shown they are not afraid to part ways with a veteran who is starting to slip on the field. If you don't believe me, ask Asante Samuel.

Then, if you question their timing on the older guys, ask the Atlanta Falcons coaching staff what they think, as they're penciling Samuel in as a backup.

Whether it's an I'll-take-whatever-you're-willing-to-give deal like we saw with Samuel or just an outright release, don't expect to see Babin in Philadelphia past this upcoming season.