Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

27 Nov 2012

Eagles Release Jason Babin (Update: Claimed by Jaguars)

Let the rebuilding begin. The Eagles moved DeSean Jackson to IR today, and waived Jason Babin. They told the press they want a chance to get playing time for youngers players. (Hi, Vinny Curry.) Babin is a disappointment this year with only 5.5 sacks, but this guy is still a very good pass rusher. Despite his expensive contract, I would have to think a team would be willing to pick him up on waivers and stick him in the lineup on passing downs.

I must admit that I don't know exactly how things work for the contract when you pick up a player on waivers -- this is what we get for not having someone who knows contracts on regular staff right now -- but his contract actually is written in a cap-friendly way, and he's at $4.325 million in 2013 which isn't nuts.

Waiver priority goes in backwards order by record and then by strength of schedule. So, let's figure out who wants Babin. I don't know how much cap room each team has left, so let's assume they can all make the room if they want to make it happen. I'll also assume teams out of the playoffs don't take the flier on him just so they can have him in 2013, although you never know.

Dallas and Washington (5-6): Not a scheme fit.
New Orleans (5-6): Our playoff odds give them less than five percent chance at the playoffs, but he's a player that Steve Spagnuolo could really use well.
Miami (5-6): I've got to figure they're far enough out from the playoffs at this point not to take on the money.
Seattle (6-5): Fits if they feel like they need him, although they've got a pretty strong pass rush already.
Minnesota (6-5): Absolutely, would be a beast against offensive lines concentrating on Jared Allen. But do the Vikings really think they're still in it given how they've faded in recent weeks?
Pittsburgh (6-5): Not a scheme fit, and not really needed.
Cincinnati (6-5): Hmmm... maybe? But they lead the league in Adjusted Sack Rate, so there really is not a need.
Tampa Bay (6-5): I would think he fits here, absolutely, if they want to take on the money. On the other hand, it's a mostly young team, so do they want to carry his salary in future seasons?
Green Bay (7-4): Not a scheme fit.
New York (7-4): I know, the Giants can never have enough pass rushers, but really isn't needed.
Indianapolis (7-4): Not a scheme fit.
Chicago (8-3): Hell yeah. Mix him in there with Idonije and McClellin opposite Peppers, you can do some damage. Is there enough time to scheme some Giants-NASCAR-like packages with this group?
Denver (8-3): I don't know how much they need him, with Dumervil and Von Miller there, but sure.
New England (8-3): I'm guessing they grab him if he makes it this far, and I don't think he makes it this far.

I doubt he makes it past the 8-3 teams. If the teams listed above are all afraid of his contract, then the teams with even more wins would be too.

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 27 Nov 2012

60 comments, Last at 30 Nov 2012, 11:24am by In_Belichick_We_Trust


by RC (not verified) :: Tue, 11/27/2012 - 4:39pm

I don't think hes got a chance in hell of making it by NE, with Jones still hurt and Cunningham suspended.

Probably doesn't make it that far though.

That being said, I think 5.5 sacks in 11 games is pretty good when you play for a team as bad as the eagles.

Aaron, any idea which of these teams actually has the cap space available?

by daz :: Tue, 11/27/2012 - 4:51pm

Its from the beginning of September but I can't imagine that any teams have taken on a significant salary after Week 1 - http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2012/09/08/team-by-team-cap-space-a...

by Anonymousudidi (not verified) :: Tue, 11/27/2012 - 8:32pm

Getting cut by the Eagles at this stage probably also means locker room cancer.

I don't think many good teams will risk that ...

by Anonymoushjuuu (not verified) :: Thu, 11/29/2012 - 3:43am

Jagd, bills, Redskins ... Do the math.

by ChaosOnion :: Wed, 11/28/2012 - 9:45am

...I think 5.5 sacks in 11 games is pretty good when you play for a team as bad as the eagles.

One of the root causes of the Eagles poor performance this season, besides the trauma facility of an o-line, is the ineffective pass rush. Babin not getting to the QB, not beating double teams and not playing the run on the way to the QB is not a result of, but a reason that the Eagles are bad.

by PETE (not verified) :: Tue, 11/27/2012 - 4:39pm

I remember lots of Bears fans being sorry we didn't sign him a few years ago. I hope he makes it down to us.

by Karl Cuba :: Tue, 11/27/2012 - 4:41pm

I think that Babin's skill set makes him a potential scheme fit for almost everyone. He is only really suited to being a situational rusher and he help plenty of teams in that role.

by Bonzer (not verified) :: Tue, 11/27/2012 - 4:47pm

Per Albert Breer on twitter:
"Claiming priority is:
For previous coaching connections: played for Dom Capers in Houston, Gunther Cunnigham in KC, and Jeff Fisher in Tenn."

Don't think OAK has the cap space; KC & SD plays a 3-4, so maybe JAX, CLE, CAR, and BUF?

by speedegg :: Tue, 11/27/2012 - 4:55pm

I don't think he'll last long enough for Detroit to pick him up.

by dryheat :: Tue, 11/27/2012 - 5:10pm

I don't think there's any way Fisher doesn't put a claim in for him.

by Dean :: Tue, 11/27/2012 - 5:23pm

Sure there is. Between Chris Long and Robert Quinn, where's his playing time going to come from? Why pick up a guy his age when you can give those reps to a developing player? Fisher may still choose to add him, but it's by no means a lock.

by Bonzer (not verified) :: Tue, 11/27/2012 - 5:28pm

It gets better. Jason Cole from Yahoo tweeted and retweeted by various people about cap space:

"Only 5 teams (Atl, Balt, Det, SF, Pitt) don't have enuf cap room to claim Babin (need $1.64m). But all could create it."

Verrry interesting.

by dryheat :: Tue, 11/27/2012 - 7:51pm

I can't profess to know the intricacies of the Rams defense, I was assuming that they wouldn't mind another end for depth or rotational/situational purposes.

by Karl Cuba :: Tue, 11/27/2012 - 4:47pm

(crying softly)

by tuluse :: Tue, 11/27/2012 - 6:17pm

Chicago (8-3): Hell yeah. Mix him in there with Idonije and McClellin opposite Peppers, you can do some damage. Is there enough time to scheme some Giants-NASCAR-like packages with this group?

They do have a package where Peppers moves inside, with McClellin and Idonije as the ends. Babin would be an upgrade in pass rushing from Idonije, but I'm still not sure the Bears take him. He is awful against the run which means you can't play him on early downs, and he doesn't play special teams.

Also, 4 Aces is 1000 times better of a nickname than NASCAR and I demand FO writers switch back.

by Aaron Schatz :: Tue, 11/27/2012 - 6:30pm

I agree on the nickname, but if everyone else calls it NASCAR now, I figure we have to call it that too.

by Eddo :: Tue, 11/27/2012 - 10:45pm

I had never heard it called "NASCAR" until this article. That's a shame, because "Four Aces" is brilliant.

by GK (not verified) :: Wed, 11/28/2012 - 2:10am

FBO coined the Giants 2007 defensive lineup with four DEs -- Strahan, Umenyiora, Tuck and Kiwanuka -- the "Four Aces" package. An excellent name. http://www.footballoutsiders.com/walkthrough/2007/too-deep-zone-four-gia...

A few years later, Perry Fewell, current Giants defensive coordinator, has referred to his four DEs (last season it was four of Tuck, Umenyiora, Kiwanuka, JPP, and Tollefson) package as the "NASCAR" package. It's the name that stuck, unfortunately.

by dryheat :: Wed, 11/28/2012 - 8:44am

Most interesting in the linked article is an almost typo-free comment from Raider Joe.

by Anonymousse (not verified) :: Thu, 11/29/2012 - 10:08am

Same here. Never heard it called NASCAR before. Its terrible.

Four Aces.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Tue, 11/27/2012 - 5:01pm

Even though the Lions are out of the playoffs, I'm currently fantasizing about them cutting Kyle Vandenbosch and claiming Babin. Right when Nick Fairley is finally taking advantage of Suh soaking up double teams, they are getting next to nothing from the DE position. Would be worth it to have Babin as a passing down specialist for 2013 at that price.

by Jimmy :: Tue, 11/27/2012 - 6:08pm

It would leave them with two left ends though. Good left ends but I can't remember either Babin or Avril playing the other side.

by Revenge of the NURBS (not verified) :: Tue, 11/27/2012 - 5:12pm

Anyone know if this decision came from Reid or from upstairs? If it came from Reid, I'll give him credit for looking at the long-term interests of the team over his short-term need to save his job.

Of course, he also scapegoated the D-coordinator when the offense was the much bigger problem, so... not too much credit.

by Bright Blue Shorts :: Tue, 11/27/2012 - 5:31pm

I was just thinking this looks like more scapegoating of the D ...

by Kyle D. (not verified) :: Thu, 11/29/2012 - 3:39pm

I'd guess if it came from Reid it had more to do with negativity in the locker room than long-term interests. He's probably trying to keep from losing the whole team. (Assuming that hasn't already happened.)

If it came from upstairs, it's a money-saving move because they know they're going to be entering a major restructuring with a new coach next year. (Because I think the decision was made to dump Reid a while back already.)

by In_Belichick_We... :: Fri, 11/30/2012 - 11:17am

I know the offense was turning the ball over regularly but the defense was not a lot better. Plot the Eagles devensive DVOA over the season and you will see a steady decline that started before the firing of the DC.

by Karl Cuba :: Tue, 11/27/2012 - 5:25pm

Niners lock up Bowman through 2018.

by bravehoptoad :: Tue, 11/27/2012 - 6:12pm

Wasn't sure they could afford two top-of-the-line middle linebackers, but I'm glad they did.

Now for Goldson...last year I didn't think I'd say that, but he's changed my mind this year.

by Dean :: Tue, 11/27/2012 - 5:28pm

It's a start. Now they just need to follow up over the offseason by releasing dogkiller, MeSean, Celek, Bell, Kelly, Watkins, Reynolds, Graham, Jekins, Asamugah, Allen, and Coleman. Doesn't Really-Care would be on the list too if he weren't a free agent. That's $74 million off the payroll. If you want to add Trent Cole and his 1.5 sacks to the list, now you're talking $80 million.

by Anonymousssssss (not verified) :: Tue, 11/27/2012 - 9:36pm

Nicknames like that are really juvenile and make me cringe. Leave them on the Rivals boards where they belong.

by Eddo :: Tue, 11/27/2012 - 10:45pm


by Guest789 :: Wed, 11/28/2012 - 2:40am

It took me too long to figure out who Doesn't Really-Care was, but I chuckled.


“Treat a man as he is, and he will remain as he is. Treat a man as he could be, and he will become what he should be.”

by Kyle D. (not verified) :: Thu, 11/29/2012 - 3:42pm

You cringe easily. Anonymousssssss, on the other hand, now there's a nickname everybody can get behind! ;-)

by MilkmanDanimal :: Tue, 11/27/2012 - 5:55pm

Tampa could use a pass rusher with a pulse. I mean, Michael Bennett's OK (better vs. run than pass, it seems), and Bowers is coming along slowly, but this is a team with nada for pass rush at this point.

by Will Allen :: Tue, 11/27/2012 - 6:03pm

I don't think he'll fall that far, but the Vikings, still not out of it, with 3 remaining division games left, two against Aaron Rodgers, would be crazy to not work Babin into the pass rush rotation. Robison has shown in the past that he can rush effectively on the inside; a line, in obvious passing downs, of Allen, Williams, Robison, and Babin, might be pretty formidable.

by JonFrum :: Tue, 11/27/2012 - 6:23pm

The question isn't what he can do this year - it's next year. It's not like he's a guy who puts you over the top for a SB run. If it was just this year, I'd be happy for the Patriots to take a look at him. Next year, at that money? Not so much.

by Alternator :: Wed, 11/28/2012 - 12:10am

Given the current issues with health and suspension, the Patriots absolutely could view Babin as the difference between a first round bye and lacking a first round bye.

All they need is to win out and have Denver win out, and they have the #2 seed. Denver has an easy schedule, so the Patriots can't afford to drop a game or else they could drop to the #4 seed. Babin makes total sense.

by RickD :: Wed, 11/28/2012 - 2:02pm

He's never going to drop that far.

OK, I'll be surprised if he drops that far.

by dryheat :: Wed, 11/28/2012 - 4:06pm

His money is non-guaranteed for the remainder of the contract. If Belichick wants him (and I doubt he does), all he has to do is pay him the balance of his contract for this season.

by CG43 :: Tue, 11/27/2012 - 7:27pm

I know the Giants rarely use wide 9 (though JPP is bouncing outside more than usual lately), I know they're stacked at DE, and I know they're near the cap limit, but Reese has an infatuation with pass rushers and always looks at his team as if two of his DEs just got IR'd. I don't expect Babin to fall that far, but I would actually be pretty surprised if the Giants didn't pick him up if he were still around (provided that wouldn't put them over the cap).

Wherever he goes, it should be to a team that already has a dominant pass rusher. He'd be dynamite across from someone like Allen (though they can't afford to worsen their run D), but I wouldn't trust him to do much as the best end on a D Line.

by Theo :: Tue, 11/27/2012 - 7:44pm

Why is Indianapolis not a fit?
I see him picked up by them.

by tuluse :: Tue, 11/27/2012 - 7:50pm

They've switched to a 3-4.

by Johnny Socko (not verified) :: Wed, 11/28/2012 - 11:47am

Everybody says Indy switched to a 3-4, but that's not true. Freeney is listed as a LB, but he puts his hand on the ground and rushes the passer roughly 95% of the time. So essentially, Indy plays a 4-3. The Colts new GM, Ryan Grigson, came from Philly, so it will be interesting to see if he claims Babin.

by tuluse :: Wed, 11/28/2012 - 12:29pm

Are they playing a Wade Philips style 3-4? Which is really more of a 5-2.

by Jimmy :: Wed, 11/28/2012 - 1:21pm

Its Pagano's interpretation of the Ryan family defense (or 46 if you prefer). It is a very flexible system and Freeney essentially plays the same role as Suggs did in Baltimore. Freeney is more comfortable in a three point stance where Suggs was happy enough to use a two point stance most of the time. Otherwise they play pretty much the same postion. People get way too hung up on 3-4 / 4-3, gaps and alignments are much more important.

by Johnny Socko (not verified) :: Wed, 11/28/2012 - 2:28pm

Good points. I'm always amazed when people insist "he can't play a 3-4 because he's a 4-3 guy", or even more shockingly when they refer to coaches as either "3-4 or 4-3 guys", as if its impossible for a coach to change from one system to another.

by RickD :: Wed, 11/28/2012 - 5:49pm

Especially for outside pass rushers, the scheme's complexity doesn't seem that important. Just put the guy in a spot and point at the QB. That's it. That's why rookie pass rushers break through a lot more quickly than rookies in most other positions.

by tuluse :: Wed, 11/28/2012 - 6:27pm

Most pass rushing schemes are actually a lot more complicated than that.

by Mr Shush :: Wed, 11/28/2012 - 7:51pm

Babin pretty much stank in the Dom Capers/Vic Fangio 3-4 in Houston, and only really broke out when introduced to the Wide-9 4-3 in Tennessee under Fisher et al. There is definitely reason to think scheme is an issue for this particular pass rusher.

by In_Belichick_We... :: Fri, 11/30/2012 - 11:24am

Which teams actually run a 2-gap 3-4 these days (Pitt and Arizona maybe)?
It appears to me that the Pats run some hybrid looks with Wilfork and/or Love sometimes playing with 2-gap responsibility but it looks like the Pats have gone to more of a 1-gap system.

by Jimmy :: Tue, 11/27/2012 - 8:11pm

I would have thought who might want him would depend on how flexible he is willing to be about his contract. If he is willing to have a trial run this year and then look at a possible restructure plenty of teams could use him. Carolina for example could use another pass rusher, especially on third downs. That defense needs help and it would allow them to place their draft resources in the secondary or a big DT, knowing that they will probably have a decent pass rush. Every team in the league would like another rotational pass rusher, especially one who is actually quite good at it.

With many 3-4 teams using four man lines in nickel and dime I could see one of them picking him up.

by jleonardnc (not verified) :: Wed, 11/28/2012 - 12:22am

What about his last team, the Titans? They desperately need a pass rusher. Seems legit.

by justanothersteve :: Wed, 11/28/2012 - 8:28am

I don't get the logic of doesn't fit the scheme. About half the GMs think they can make a guy fit even when he doesn't. Which means that he goes to the first team with an idiot GM who thinks he knows everything. That would be Dallas.

by Scott P. (not verified) :: Wed, 11/28/2012 - 6:11pm

Jacksonville grabbed him.

by 40 oz to Freedom (not verified) :: Wed, 11/28/2012 - 6:35pm

That went fast. Second team on waiver order. Wow.

by DavidL :: Wed, 11/28/2012 - 6:57pm

So Babin goes to a team whose marginal improvement could mean the difference between Philadelphia getting the third overall pick or the second?

That might be the most strategic thing the Eagles have done all year.

by Bonzer (not verified) :: Wed, 11/28/2012 - 6:38pm

Per Adam Schefter on twitter, a total of 8 teams put in claims for Babin.

by Michael LaRocca (not verified) :: Thu, 11/29/2012 - 6:48pm

Two days later, Jason Babin is still trying to decide which is the good news and which is the bad news.

by Michael LaRocca (not verified) :: Thu, 11/29/2012 - 6:48pm

Two days later, Jason Babin is still trying to decide which is the good news and which is the bad news.

by commissionerleaf :: Thu, 11/29/2012 - 8:20pm

The Jaguars are the perfect team for Babin. They are a 4-3 outfit in need of pass rushing talent, who have absolutely no ability to draft defensive ends at all and therefore might as well hire a guy on the downhill side of his career who nonetheless has some ability.