Philadelphia Eagles

Philadelphia Eagles Cut Jason Babin with an Eye Toward the Future

GLENDALE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 23:  Running back LaRod Stephens-Howling #36 of the Arizona Cardinals rushes the football past defensive end Jason Babin #93 of the Philadelphia Eagles during the NFL game at the University of Phoenix Stadium on September 23, 2012 in Glendale, Arizona.  The Carindals defeated the Eagles 27-6.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Brad Gagnon NFL National ColumnistNovember 27, 2012

The Philadelphia Eagles announced on Tuesday that Jason Babin has been released (per ESPN.com), which to me is indication No. 1 that the team is finally ready to accept the fact that dramatic changes are necessary in order to right the organizational ship. 

This isn't about the money, really. The Eagles have a chance to save an extra $1.6 million if a team claims Babin now, according to NFL.com's Albert Breer, and this gives them a chance to avoid having to pay even a dollar of his $4.2 million salary for 2013.

However, the Eagles have plenty of cap space and a strong desire to win in the very near future, so this just means they grew tired of Babin being a one-trick pony. 

He'll be 33 next season and is already clearly declining. He took a silly offside penalty in the fourth quarter Monday night against Carolina—his sixth of the season—and his inability to do anything but rush the passer had rendered him expendable amid a rotation of very talented defensive linemen.

This wouldn't have happened right now had Brandon Graham not stepped up in his third season, and had Vinny Curry and Fletcher Cox and Trent Cole not been on the roster, but it wouldn't have happened regardless had the team been in the playoff mix. Giving up on Babin now means the Eagles have given up on 2012, which is good, because it was time to let go of a lost season.

It means they're likely done with Todd Bowles and Jim Washburn and his wide-nine defense. It means they're ready to embrace those younger linemen, many of whom have outplayed Babin in limited snaps this season.

And maybe most importantly, it puts the rest of the veterans on defense on notice. Nnamdi Asomugha could be next. Or maybe Nate Allen. In fact, the entire secondary has been so disappointing despite oodles of experience that nobody's safe.

That's the way it should be. That's the way it has to be. Everybody should be playing to keep their job as the Eagles prepare to clean up a two-year-old mess. 

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