The Philadelphia Eagles released pass-rushing defensive end Jason Babin today in lieu of the team’s disappointing 3-8 season. While the Eagles cannot blame their dismal outputs this season purely on Babin, he hasn’t been the difference maker they’ve needed.
Babin and his agent are looking for a contender; a team that could legitimize his career and potentially help him capture his first championship ring. ESPN’s Dan Graziano confirmed this and feels that he won’t be without a job very long.
The release came as a shock, especially since Babin signed a five-year, $28 million extension after last season. He tallied 18 sacks for the Eagles last season and has the third most sacks in the NFL since 2010. The only two ahead of him? Jared Allen — 40 sacks — and DeMarcus Ware — 45 sacks.
However, the NFL is a “What have you done for me lately?” type of league: look at Babin’s numbers before his productive 2010 campaign with the Tennessee Titans.
He came into the league in 2004 with a three-year stint in Houston as a Texan. Since then, he has played for four different teams and hasn’t stayed on any of them for more than three years. In the 64 games he played in from 2004-2009, he only tallied 17.5 sacks and did not play football during his 2007 season with the Seahawks.
What kind of guy are the Ravens getting in Babin if they choose to pursue him?
He’s not good against the run. He isn’t a great first down player. He has had injuries bug him in the past.
Okay, those are the negatives and not what the Ravens’ defense can afford.
However, he is one of the best wide-nine pass rushers in the league and can be utilized on second-and-long and third-and-long. For those who don’t know the”wide-nine:” it is when a defensive end lines up much wider than the offensive tackle’s outside shoulder; where the tight ends’ outside shoulder would be if there were a tight end next to the tackle. Depending on preference, some lineman may stand up in a two-point stance, have one arm down in a three-point stance, or two arms down in a four-point stance.
One might say: “The Ravens already have a guy in Paul Kruger that does virtually the same thing.”
What’s wrong with having another guy like that?
Kruger has come alive in getting after the quarterback the past two weeks, much like the rest of the defensive front seven. Even though the opposing offensive lines haven’t been the cream of the crop — the Steelers and Chargers have struggled mightily protecting the quarterback — the Ravens have tallied nine sacks for losses of 63 yards. Going into the Steelers game, the Ravens were tied for 22nd in sacks with a mere 16 on the season.
Is the pass rush finally coming alive? Maybe.
Would a guy like Babin boost their chances in getting after the quarterback? He can only help.
I’m not talking money numbers because this is only a theory, but if the Ravens decide to bring him in, he would be a great situational player that could fit into the defensive line rotation. This move could potentially free up Paul Kruger, Terrell Suggs, and Arthur Jones and make Haloti Ngata’s job much easier.
Yes, I know he hasn’t performed well in 3-4 defenses, as he was only an average player in Houston, where they ran that scheme.
And yes, you can’t take Suggs off the field for a guy in Babin that offers limited run stopping ability.
What about Courtney Upshaw? What would his role be if the Ravens bring in Babin?
All of these guys are crucial to this defense, but bringing in a guy like Babin would give defensive coordinator Dean Pees more options. He could utilize more blitz packages to bring more pressure on opposing quarterbacks.
Remember Baltimore: the best medicine for any secondary that has struggled is a front seven that forces the opposition’s quarterback into hurried decisions. A volatile front seven is what leads to turnovers and sacks.
However, for all this conjecture about what Babin could offer, there is a catch: he must clear waivers first, which is highly unlikely.
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