The Eagles locked up defensive end Vinny Curry with a five-year contract extension worth as much as $47.25 million with $23 million in guaranteed money, which is a big splash for a player who didn’t start a game over the first four years of his career.
That lack of starts didn’t stop Curry from recording 16.5 sacks over the last three seasons and the contract indicates that the Eagles think Curry can up that production with more time on the field in the 4-3 scheme defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz is installing. In an interview with 97.5 The Fanatic on Wednesday, Schwartz said that Curry is a player he liked coming out of college — Schwartz was coach of the Lions at the time — and that he thinks the fit between player and defense is going to be a good one.
“Vinny is a really hardcore competitor. You have to be a competitor to get to the quarterback,” Schwartz said. “It’s very rare to just beat your guy clean. It’s very rare that you’re clean to the quarterback. Most of the sacks are due to work ethic. You have to counter. You have to keep on coming. He does that. There are some guys that really fit in the defense here last year. I think he was one guy who wasn’t a great fit. He played in that square stance. They play a lot of two-gap. That’s been proven to be an effective system, also, it just didn’t fit Vinny very well. I think we can cut the handcuffs off of him, so to speak, and cut him loose along with the other guys up front.”
Schwartz’s defenses have been predicated on attacking the defense without relying on blitzing. That means the defensive line has to get to the quarterback, which means that the expectations for Curry in 2016 are crystal clear.