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Philadelphia Eagles Begin Cleaning House: Jason Babin Released

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Philadelphia Eagles Begin Cleaning House: Jason Babin Released
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The Philadelphia Eagles released Pro Bowl defensive end Jason Babin today, according to ESPN.

Babin was part of the Eagles’ spending spree in the offseason before 2011, and he rewarded the team with 18 sacks and a Pro Bowl invitation in the team’s Wide 9 defense. This year, though, Babin has just 5.5 sacks, and he’s been taking reps from young playmaking defensive end Brandon Graham.

Babin was widely regarded as a classic me-first player who epitomized the struggles of this year’s Eagles. He was awful against the run, which is a direct result of the Wide 9 defense but also a reflection of Babin’s obsessiveness with accumulating sacks and only sacks.

The Eagles had signed Babin to a five-year, $28 million deal (via espn.com) before ’11, but the surprise emergence of Graham this season made Babin expendable. Rookie second-round pick Vinny Curry was also active last night for the first time in his brief NFL career and played extremely well.

Babin is making $5.575 million in base salary this season with a $200,000 signing bonus and $175,000 in miscellaneous bonus. That’s a total cap hit of $5.95 million. His 2013 pay is just $4.525 million against the cap but with the up-and-coming performance of Graham and Curry, that’s a lot of money to pay for a defensive end just in the rotation.

Babin was one of a slew of players signed in the “Dream Team” offseason, and many of those are already gone. Vince Young, Ronnie Brown and Steve Smith were all expected to provide depth at their respective positions, but none panned out as hoped. Cullen Jenkins and Nnamdi Asomugha were high-profile acquisitions, although each may need to take a salary cut in 2013.

Babin’s success early on in Philadelphia was made largely by the Wide 9 defense instituted by defensive line coach Jim Washburn. Washburn had revitalized Babin’s career in Tennessee, turning Babin from a first-round bust into a 12.5-sack man. Since 2010, the only players with more sacks than Babin are Jared Allen and DeMarcus Ware, both of whom are elite pass-rushers.

Still, Babin had worn out his time in Philly, and he will now be available to be claimed through waivers. Should Babin go untouched in waivers, he can sign with another NFL team. The logical choice would be a team like Detroit, which also utilizes the Wide 9 and could use a solid pass-rusher on their defensive line.

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