Defensive end Jason Babin, who generated 18 sacks last season, was released by the Philadelphia Eagles on Tuesday.
[We're revitalizing the mailbag again, discussing topics that you, our readers, email, tweet and comment on Facebook. We'll also take a few FanPosts and expand on our thoughts for additional discussion. Instead of one single post, we'll spread them out throughout the week... at least for now]
ON JASON BABIN:
Reader Wood98 argues for signing former Eagles defensive end Jason Babin, who was released on Tuesday. Somewhat of a surprise around the league, Babin is coming off an 18-sack season for the Eagles last year. Now with only 5.5 sacks this year, Babin is in the middle of a five-year deal worth $27.725 million -- of which $16 million remains. If claimed, his new team would be on the hook for the remainder of his $5 million salary this year with an estimated $2 million cap hit.
Once he clears waivers -- which he probably will -- then he'll be an unrestricted free agent that the Bengals, if they see Babin fitting into a situational pass rushing role, can sign. When he was released, Babin said:
"I like to win, I like to compete and I like to sack the quarterback. I imagine there's a team out there looking for that," he said.
Eagles fans at SB Nation's Bleeding Green Nation, those who've watched Babin for three seasons (2009, 2011, 2012) at Philadelphia, reacted with a celebratory mood; some even hinting at Babin being a "locker room cancer".
Now the question is, should the Bengals entertain a Babin signing.
The Cincinnati Bengals are currently No. 2 in the NFL with 35 quarterback sacks, shared among 13 player led by Geno Atkins (9) and Michael Johnson (8). Carlos Dunlap (16 pressures) and Robert Geathers (9) are adding consistent pressure, as is the surprising Wallace Gilberry, not only with multiple sacks but a forced fumble and two recoveries.
Let's look beyond this year though.
Signing Babin will require a multi-year deal that will undoubtedly feature auction-style negotiations against other potential postseason teams for a contract similar to what he signed in Philadelphia. Doing so may complicate negotiations with defensive tackle Michael Johnson, who is entering this offseason as an unrestricted free agent, and even offensive tackle Andre Smith.
Yes Babin is historically more productive as a pass rusher, but Johnson is seven years younger than the 32-year old Babin and no slouch on his own. He's generated 14 quarterback sacks since 2011 and 21 tackles for loss in the past three years. Additionally Johnson is evolving, setting career highs every season as a valuable every down defensive end that's dramatically improved against the run.
To be blunt, while arguments signing Babin could make sense in the short and long-term, we're not expecting it. In fact we're enthusiastically rejecting it because when it's all said and done, the Bengals are the type of team that submits a three-day vacation on the first day of free agency every season. Bloated contracts just ain't their thing.