In a somewhat surprising series of moves, the Eagles have released defensive end Darren Howard and wide receiver Kevin Curtis. Both Howard and Curtis were free agent acquisitions that the Eagles brought in on multi-year deals.
Howard, 33, led the Eagles in sacks just one year ago in 2008. His 10.5 sacks that year came primarily in limited playing time when he served as an insert defensive tackle on third downs. His total dropped to a healthy 6.5 sacks in 2009, so it comes as a bit of a shock that the Eagles decided to release him after devoting a three-year deal to recently acquired pass-rusher Darryl Tapp.
Kevin Curtis’s release should have been more easily foreseeable. The 31-year-old receiver was acquired in the free agency of 2007 and he posted great numbers in his first year as an Eagle, catching 77 balls for 1,110 yards and six touchdowns. Curtis missed seven games in 2008 with a sports hernia and 12 games in 2009 after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery.
What do these housecleaning efforts mean for the Philadelphia Eagles? In the past few weeks, they’ve released some of the players who have kept the franchise competitive in the past five years. New GM Howie Roseman seemed to keep a level hand as the league moved into it’s first uncapped season since 1993 and the Eagles were relatively passive in pursuing some of the bigger names in the free agent market. Now, with an apparent youth movement, the questions will turn to the quarterback position. What type of fluctuation can we expect to see with Donovan McNabb, Kevin Kolb and Michael Vick on the roster? Philadelphia has come across as extremely passive in trade talks and rumors flew from many quarterback deficient cities: Cleveland, Seattle, Oakland, San Francisco and Buffalo. So far, none have been substantiated and the Eagles have been content to rely on their current depth chart. Andy Reid has taken a number of opportunities to reiterate, “Donovan McNabb is our quarterback,” but the question of a trade has so far been unanswered.