The Eagles finally made their first big move amidst the free agent frenzy by signing DE Jason Babin to a five-year deal that is reported to be worth $30 million with approximately $7 million guaranteed (courtesy of MyFoxPhilly.com).
The Babin-to-the-Eagles rumor had been cooking for a while but I still can’t help but find this a little surprising. My reasons are as follows:
1. He is 31 years old
2. He’s played for five different teams in the past five years
3. He’s only had one good year (last year)
4. It seemed he had burned some bridges during his 2009 season with the Eagles
5. He’s a risk. In my opinion, he seems like he is only concerned about getting paid. How will he play after he’s received what is most likely his last payday in the NFL?
The main reason for my surprise was this quote by Quintin Mikell at the end of Babin’s season with the Eagles in 2009:
“There was just a lot of negativity,” Mikell said. “A lot of people weren’t putting the team first. Everybody’s guilty of it at some point – I’ve been guilty of it here and there. But when it’s all the time, then it’s a problem. We’ve never had that before, since I’ve been here.”
“We’ve never been a selfish team, where guys were more worried about what they did individually than how we did as a team. But we had guys who were more concerned about how the game plan affected them. It was, How am I going to get my sacks if we’re doing this, instead of, ‘Hey, let’s go out and do whatever it takes to win the game.”
Then, there was this tidbit in an interview with Pro Football Focus just last month where Babin was asked if there was “any bad blood” between him and the Eagles that would prevent him from signing there:
“No, I think any and all feelings if they were bad could be waived by a healthy contract”.
If you read between the lines a little bit, there was at least some “bad blood” there. And Quintin Mikell certainly seemed to be talking about Babin (hence the bolded part of quote).
But as with Jeremiah Trotter, Andy Reid seems to be able to forgive and forget.
With all that said, the fact he only received $7 million guaranteed makes it a little easier to understand. That’s not a lot of money for what will ultimately be a two year deal (there is no way he’ll be here five years).
Babin was signed because he fits into Jim Washburn’s scheme and Brandon Graham will not play much this season. Basically, he’s a fill-in until Graham is back to 100%; which will likely not be until the 2012 season.
He flourished in Washburn’s scheme last season and was so thankful, he paid for Washburn and his wife to join him in Hawaii for the Pro Bowl. Hopefully he duplicates his production from last year and gives the Eagles the LDE presence they’ve been lacking for years.
Overall, I give the thumbs up to this signing.