Babin contract could be a bargain-basement waivers claim

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After the trading deadline, every player who is released by a team must pass through waivers, no matter how many years of service the player has.

As applied to Tuesday’s surprise decision by the Eagles to cut defensive end Jason Babin, it means that the other 31 teams will have dibs, based on the current waiver priority.

NFL spokesman Randall Liu has tweeted the top 12 on the priority list:   1.  Chiefs; 2. Jaguars; 3.  Eagles; 4. Raiders; 5.  Browns; 6. Panthers, 7. Chargers; 8. Bills; 9. Titans; 10. Lions; 11. Cardinals; and 12. Jets.

Babin, who entered the league in 2004 as a first-round pick of the Texans, will draw the interest of teams with 4-3 defenses that may be looking for a relatively inexpensive pass-rushing punch.  Though he had only 5.5 sacks this year, which possibly was fueled by a calf injury that caused him to miss most of training camp and the preseason, Babin has shown that he can get after quarterbacks — especially via the “wide nine” defensive line formation.

Last year, the first of his second tour with the Eagles, Babin had 18.0 sacks.

Of the teams in the top 12 of the waiver priority list, the Browns stand out out because Babin was signed by the Eagles when Cleveland CEO Joe Banner served as president in Philly.  If, however, there were reasons unrelated to performance that prompted the decision to part ways prematurely with Babin, Banner likely will be privy to that info.  (That said, the Eagles would be wise to not say anything to discourage any team from taking Babin’s contract off their hands; if he’s claimed, they avoid $1.69 million in potential termination pay.)

The Lions use the “wide nine,” and Detroit currently faces the departure of Cliff Avril via free agency.  With plenty of other Lions due to become free agents, it could sense to pick up Babin under a deal that pays $4.325 million in 2013, $6.175 million in 2014, and $6.15 million in 2014.

The fact that Babin’s primary experience comes as a 4-3 defensive end doesn’t rule out 3-4 teams, where Babin would be converted to an outside linebacker.

And even though some of the better teams could be eyeballing Babin as a valuable addition for the stretch run, Babin’s contract could be a prudent investment for bad teams that are trying to become competitive via proven veterans who are reasonably-priced.

For the Eagles, the decision will result in a $900,000 cap charge in 2013, based on Babin’s $1.5 million signing bonus.  It’s a relatively small amount for a franchise that could shed $30 million from the books next year by cutting Mike Vick and Nnamdi Asomugha.

21 responses to “Babin contract could be a bargain-basement waivers claim

  1. Babin has already received termination pay, so the Eagles owe him nothing. And it would be little to no recourse for anyone to pick him up for a final push. I would not be surprised if the Patriots picked him up, even though they don’t need him. Nor would I be surprised if the Giants did, either.

  2. Guessing he goes unclaimed. He has about 2 productive years surrounded by busts every other year. Clear waivers and get the vet min.

    I don’t think God hates Cleveland enough to dump that contract on them.

  3. Unfortunately no team can claim him.

    There’s an unwritten rule in the NFL that you can’t claim players who are cut by other teams.

    The Patriots broke this unwritten rule by signing Ballard when the Giants cut him.

    I fully expect fans will be outraged if Babin is claimed by a team. It makes no sense – but that’s apparently how NFL fans roll.

  4. @kluuuuuug
    What do you mean, that is a very manageable contract this year and next. They wouldn’t be in on any guaranteed money, so they could dump him when his salary hits 6M (or keep him if he’s producing) for nothing.

  5. Come on joesixpack – the unwritten rule is when teams are trying to waive players to stash them on IR before the season starts for future years. Eagles aren’t trying to stash him.

  6. Pats should kick the tires on this guy, especially with the CJones injury and the Cunningham suspension. Wouldn’t cost that much this year. Now that they have Talib, McCourty playing safety, Chung coming back and Dennard looking like a player, things are really starting to come together. Even a situational pass rusher like Babin could really put them over the top. Reid and Belichick are close. I’m sure BB could find out about any injury/personal issues that have led to Babin’s drop in production. Pats should get all their key injured players back this year. Go all in.

  7. daysend564 says: – the unwritten rule is when teams are trying to waive players to stash them on IR before the season starts for future years.


    OK – I get it. So the unwritten rule is one of collusion among NFL franchises who want to weasel out of paying contracts to players. They’re the good guys.

    Just kindof ironic that Belichick is following the rules, while other teams insist the written rules not be followed – and Belichick is the bad guy paying Ballard’s full salary.

    If any team wants to keep a player, they simply need to keep him and pay him. There’s no need to free up a roster space during the pre-season. And later on there’s the injured reserve.

  8. I think the Raiders have 13 sacks on the season. If he lands in Oakland there will be a crowd of defensive linemen around him immediately. “5 1/2 sacks? How do you get so many?”

  9. Raider Nation here we go? Do we need this guy? We all know how bad we could use a productive pass rusher….and whos not going to be here next year cuz of our salary cap issues. SO, lets kick the tires on em Reggie!! its a cheap contract and a badly needed fill in for our pitiful D line!!!!!

  10. raiders are tied with jacksonville for dfl in sacks ths year. however in the past 3 games the jags hav avg almost 2 a game while the raiders are less than one a game

  11. WTH is the wide 9? I thought I have heard of every formation out there, now there is a wide 9?
    What is it, everyone on the line except the two safeties? Time to Google.

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