Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

05 Mar 2010

Eagles Release Will Witherspoon

The Eagles have released Will Witherspoon, as our friend MDS notes.

Witherspoon was due to make $5 million in 2010.

Posted by: Bill Barnwell on 05 Mar 2010

14 comments, Last at 27 Mar 2010, 4:41am by sports-veronica


by DavidL :: Fri, 03/05/2010 - 6:43pm

He was getting paid HOW much? Yeesh.

by mattman :: Fri, 03/05/2010 - 6:43pm

Not surprised at all. Witherspoon was an emergency mid-season trade once BOTH of their middle linebackers went down last year. He really wasn't impressive at either MLB or WLB as the season went on. Stewart Bradley and Akeem Jordan are better players, and Omar Gaither (assuming he's still around) can back up both spots just as well as Witherspoon could.

by Yuri (not verified) :: Fri, 03/05/2010 - 7:03pm

Witherspoon made a splashy Eagles debut on national TV vs Redskins. Continuing on, he was not spectacular but solid, especially given the fact he had to switch positions to weakside. As I recall, he was consistently a leading tackler on defense.

Count me among the surprised. I assume that the $$ was from the original Ram contract. $5M is plenty of $, and the fact that the release has not happened until now means that the sides have not come to an agreement to re-do the deal. Obviously Shawn Bradley is not a guarantee to return to form.

Shows you that "no cap" does not mean "no limit" on spending even for good players.

by mattman :: Fri, 03/05/2010 - 8:52pm

While fellow Philadelphia sports legend Shawn Bradley would no doubt be great at defending against the fade pass and blocking field goals, Stewart Bradley will probably be manning MLB for the Eagles next year.

by Venger :: Fri, 03/05/2010 - 9:18pm

I guess they're really, reaaally confident that Akeem Jordan and Stewart Bradley are going to be alright this year. Since they're letting Omar Gaither and Will Witherspoon walk.

Maybe they're planning on drafting a linebacker in the later rounds? Or, possibly, they're hoping Moise Fokou can improve on his relatively-good rookie season and be a quality backup. Tracy White doesn't exactly fill me with confidence, and Chris Gocong, while steady and dependable, is not exactly spectacular. He got absolutely LOL'd by one of the worst spin moves in the history of the NFL- one performed by Jamarcus "That's no Moon, That's Jamarcus" Russel. That spin move was like watching a glacier shift.

So yeah. Here's hoping the Iggles take their linebacking core a bit more seriously this year.

by TruFalcons (not verified) :: Sat, 03/06/2010 - 12:41am

Am I supposed to know who this is?

I know who Dunta Robinson is, he signed a 6 year deal with the Falcons but no extra point.

Don't ever wonder.......

by Dean :: Sat, 03/06/2010 - 4:53pm

He's started for 3 NFL teams now, including one in your precious Falcons division. So yeah, you should probably know who he is.

If it makes you feel any better - I do think the Robinson signing will be a big help to you guys.

by Ryan D. (not verified) :: Sat, 03/06/2010 - 1:09am

I wouldn't mind seeing Witherspoon go back to Carolina. He could go right back into his old spot at WLB now that Nail Diggs and Landon Johnson are gone. Of course, that's assuming he can keep Dan Connor on the bench at this point.

by bubqr :: Sat, 03/06/2010 - 7:49am


by C (not verified) :: Sat, 03/06/2010 - 7:51am

Why trade for a guy and then just let him go? What happens if Stewart Bradley gets hurt again?

As a Giants fan, I'm glad they got rid of him but I don't think it was a smart move for them.

by Dean :: Sat, 03/06/2010 - 4:50pm

I can't say I saw this coming. But now that it's done, I can't say I'm surprised in hindsight. I'm curious how many 4-3 WILLs are making $5m/year? I'm also curious how many are worth big money contracts? Some research to do on a Saturday when I would rather be outside...

I thought Spoon was a pretty good player - good enough that I wouldn't have minded seeing them restructure his deal. Gaither did get tendered - it seems like folks are assuming he's gone. That looks like a bit of a risk now.

Venger - Tracy White is a UFA. He's a hell of a special teams guy, but that's all they intended when they acquired him.

Depth Chart: Bradley (coming off injury); Jordan (ERFA); Gocong (RFA); Gaither (RFA); Fokou (has potential); Mays (didn't take "the next step" when he had a shot a year ago). Looks like at least 1, maybe 2 LBs in the draft.

For all you draftnicks - watch all the idiots change their mock drafts to suddenly have Philly taking a LB in round 1. And watch them, as usual, be wrong.

by Ryan D. (not verified) :: Sat, 03/06/2010 - 11:03pm

He wasn't signed to be the WILL in StL, even though that was his position in Carolina. When he went to StL, they wanted him to play the MIKE, and paid him accordingly.

by Dean :: Sun, 03/07/2010 - 4:32pm

I took a look around the league to see how many weakside linebackers are actually WORTH $5m/year.

First, I dismissed the 14 teams that are running a 3-4.

Of the other 18 teams, I looked at the names and found 1. Lance Briggs. Even Briggs is quite the luxury at that price.

But Akeem Jordan, Tommy Boley, Ben Leber, Ernie Sims, Thomas Davis, Mike Peterson, Scott Schanle, Geno Hayes, Leroy Hill, Paris Lenon, Bryan Scott, Ray Maluaga, Clint Session, Clint Ingram, Zac Diles, David Thornton and Thomas Howard are not.

Although a couple of them could some day earn that level of money.

The other thing I see from looking at that list, I'd put Spoon, at worst, in the middle of the pack. Someone will be glad to have him - but not at $5 million/year.