The Jaguars claimed via waiver on Wednesday the contract of former Eagles defensive end Jason Babin. The contract covers three more seasons.
Under a little-known quirk in the Collective Bargaining Agreement, Babin can become a free agent after the 2013 season — if he wants.
Article 29, Section 1(a) of the CBA explains that vested veterans (i.e., players with four or more years of service) who are claimed on waivers after the trading deadline “shall have the right to declare himself an Unrestricted Free Agent . . . at the end of the League Year following the League Year in which he is waived and awarded.”
For vested veterans who have no-trade clauses in their contracts, the ability to become a free agent applies at the end of the year in which he was claimed. Per a league source, Babin doesn’t have a no-trade clause in his contract. Which means that Babin will be able to become a free agent, if he chooses, in March 2014.
Until then, it’s safe to say (at least for now) that Babin has no qualms about playing for the Jaguars. His Twitter page already has been updated to reflect that he’s a Jaguar, and he seems like a guy who would have no qualms about speaking his mind if he were not interested in playing in Jacksonville.
Of course, the Jaguars have the ability at any time to make Babin a free agent. Since he already has received (after his 2008 release by the Seahawks) termination pay in the form of the balance of his base salary, the Jags can cut him at any time, without owing him any more money or taking a cap hit.
Babin is due to receive a base salary of $4.225 million in 2013, along with a $100,000 workout bonus. His base salary increases to $6 million in 2014.