The hype surrounding the Eagles all throughout the lockout was that they were going to get an elite pass rusher. Albert Haynesworth seemed like a sure bet, except for that fact that he was under contract for a division rival that doesn't want to face him twice a year.
Several other big name defensive end free agents become possibilities. Ray Edwards and Charles Johnson were other candidates but at the end of the day the Eagles got the guy that they wanted and was the best fit.
Eagles' fans may have wanted a guy like Ray Edwards or Albert Haynesworth more, but Jason Babin will give the Eagles that elite pass rush they so desperately needed in 2010.
Last January the Eagles hired legendary defensive line coach Jim Washburn. Washburn bring a lot to the table for the Eagles. He is a very demanding, in your face type of a coach. Washburn also has a different type of a scheme than most defensive line coaches.
Washburn's philosophy for his players is simple, sacks equal cash, or should I say $acks. In Washburn's scheme, defensive ends line up wide of the offensive tackles and the defensive line's objective is to wreak havoc in the backfield rather than take up blockers.
Having a veteran player familiar with both Washburn's scheme and his coaching style will be key for younger players like Ricky Sapp, Phillip Hunt and Daniel Te'o-Nesheim.
Jason Babin's contract details have not been made official yet, but it has been reported from several sources that it is a five year deal worth $28-$30 million with about $7 million guaranteed.
Charles Johnson was another big name defensive end free agent. Like Babin, Johnson has had one season with at least seven sacks, the only difference is that Johnson got played like Julius Peppers.
With about $6 million a year going to Babin, the Eagles should have around $14 million to spend on remaining free agents. The $7 million in guaranteed money allows the Eagles to release Babin in two or three years if they want to promote someone younger ahead of Babin like Brandon Graham or Phillip Hunt.
Jason Babin is in the prime of his career and has already shown what he can do as a full-time starting defensive end in a 4-3 scheme. Babin doesn't need to develop or be coached up. As Jim Washburn put it "Jason Babin is on quarterbacks like a chicken is on junebugs."
Babin was a quarterback sacking machine in 2010, racking up 12.5 sacks. More of the same will be expected as he gets to rejoin his mentor and defensive line coach this season.
Babin is ready to prove that 2010 was not a fluke. He has always been known as a first round bust, and the next few years in Philly will make or break his career.
Ray Edwards had become the popular pick for the Eagles in free agency. Ray Edwards has put up decent numbers consistently the last two seasons with 8.5 sacks in 2009 and 8 sacks in 2010. The thing people forget about Ray Edwards is that he put up just okay numbers while playing with All Pro caliber linemen Jared Allen, Kevin Williams and Pat Williams.
Edwards consistent numbers and the fact he is five years younger than Babin means that he will command more years and more dollars on his next contract. The production that Edwards gave the Vikings is very similar to the production that Juqua Parker gave to the Eagles in 2010.
If the Eagles want to upgrade their pass rush from 2010, Ray Edwards isn't the answer. Jason Babin is clearly the better player today.
The Eagles had one thing in mind when they were looking at free agents this week. The Eagles were looking for someone who can get after the quarterback. With 12.5 sacks, Jason Babin does just that.
The Eagles managed just 29 sacks in 2010, with most of those coming in the first half of the season. Trent Cole was able to rack up 10 sacks, and that number should go up with another hunting partner opposite him on the line to draw double teams and extra blockers.
In order for the defense to improve from their average season in 2010, the pass rush has to get better. The Eagles will most likely be starting a second year free safety, rookie strong safety and a new cornerback in his fourth season. Opposing quarterbacks can't be allowed all day to throw against a very young secondary.
The Eagles got their guy at defensive end, it's time for him to get to work and finally prove he wasn't a first round bust seven years later.