With the Eagles announcing their intention to release running back Brian Westbrook but not doing it officially until March 5, the first day of the 2010 league year, a league source tells us that Westbrook currently is “free to talk to anyone he wants.”
So he’s essentially a free agent now, even though he won’t actually become a free agent until March 5.
Meanwhile, we’re told that the Eagles had planned not to even announce the move until March 5, but that the team decided to disclose their intentions once they learned that someone in the media was poised to break the story. (Maybe it was the OCNN.) Instead of denying the story and then announcing the move later, the Eagles opted to release the information now, on their own terms.
Some had speculated that the Eagles were unable to cut Westbrook until March 5 because the bonus acceleration would have put them over the 2009 salary cap. It’s our understanding that this is not the case.
Of course, it still remains odd that the Eagles wouldn’t simply cut him now. We can think of no benefit that the team would derive by waiting.