Crunched: Eagles Release Cullen Jenkins

Crunched: Eagles Release Cullen Jenkins

When Cullen Jenkins restructured his contract last
offseason, taking a pay cut to remain with the Eagles after a season in which
he had just been named an alternate to the Pro Bowl, the defensive tackle
talked about the desire to finish his career in Philadelphia. “I want to finish
my career as an Eagle. That’s definitely something we took into consideration.”

Unfortunately for Jenkins, it simply wasn’t meant to be. As initially
reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter,
the Eagles have released the nine-year NFL
veteran in a cost-cutting move.

By releasing Jenkins, the Eagles will save $4 million in
2013 according to Eaglescap.com. They take on $1.5 million in dead money for
the portion of the 32-year-old’s base salary that was guaranteed in the
restructuring. An additional $1 million was set to become guaranteed via a
roster bonus in March.

Jenkins was one of the last players remaining from the
summer of ’11 spending spree, a class of free agents that included Nnamdi
Asomugha and Jason Babin. He was also one of the few productive players the
organization signed during that offseason, registering 66 tackles, 9.5 sacks, a
pass deflection and a forced fumble in 32 games for the Birds.

While the Eagles were expected to shed salaries this
offseason, and Jenkins had one of the highest figures on the roster, his
release may be a tad surprising if for no other reason than because he has
played defensive end in a 3-4. Jenkins’ versatility could have come in handy as
Chip Kelly and Billy Davis try to transition Philly’s defense to a different
alignment.

At the end of the day, it came down to money. While Jenkins
may have something left in the tank, and by all accounts is a stand-up guy, he
wasn’t worth the $5.5 million he was due to earn.

Fletcher Cox, Antonio Dixon, Mike Patterson, and Cedric
Thornton are the holdovers at interior lineman from last season. The new look might not take
effect this year, but Cox and Thornton project as ends in a 3-4, while Howie
Roseman mentioned Dixon as a potential nose tackle.

Although he probably could help the team, and he wasn’t an
unlikeable player while here, Jenkins’ departure doesn’t seem like too big of a
deal in the long run. It’s not like the Eagles are right up against the cap or
anything, but then again if he's not beating out
Cox or Thornton for a job, why keep Jenkins on the payroll at that number?

>> Eagles release veteran DT Cullen Jenkins [CSN]

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Pete Mackanin on Odubel Herrera's slump: 'He needs to battle his way out'

Pete Mackanin on Odubel Herrera's slump: 'He needs to battle his way out'

After an 0-for-5 day at the plate, Odubel Herrera isn't heading to the bench a day later.

He's leading off. 

Pete Mackanin chose to move the slumping centerfielder atop the lineup card for Friday's series opener against the Reds despite Herrera's striking out in all five plate appearances Thursday.

"I think he's a .290-plus hitter as a leadoff man and I'm not going to sit him," Mackanin said pregame. "He needs to battle his way out. You figure you're the leadoff hitter once a game. After that, it's wide open."

While he hasn't batted leadoff this season, Herrera spent the majority of his time in that spot last season. In 76 games there, he batted .285 with a .359 OBP and .417 slugging percentage. 

The leadoff hitter this season has been Cesar Hernandez, who has a day off with a groin pull he's dealt with the last 10 days. Herrera primarily has been the No. 3 hitter this season and his average is down to .226 with 49 strikeouts to just 11 walks. 

Mackanin hopes the leadoff role can help change Herrera's approach at the plate.

"He was drawing a lot of walks at leadoff, so whether he has that mindset or not, I'm not sure," the manager said. "I just want to get him as many at-bats as possible. We need to get him going. We need him and [Maikel] Franco to get going."

May specifically has been tough on Herrera. He has four hits in his last 36 at-bats and has seven strikeouts in his last two games. He has just seven hits in 22 games this month. 

"I think he's at the point where he's grinding and sometimes when you grind, sometimes there's that feeling where you get lost," Mackanin said. "I've been in situations as a hitter where I've gone up to the plate saying, 'I don't care where it is. I'm going up there and just hacking.' Because you start thinking and that's not working.

"And you look for a pitch and then all of a sudden you say I'm going to take a pitch to get a look at and it's strike one. Then he throws you a nasty slider and that's strike two and your plan is out the window. So I've gone up to the plate myself saying, 'I'm just looking down the middle and swinging. I'm not thinking.'"

When asked, Mackanin said the team had not discussed demoting Herrera or Franco to the minors to take pressure off the duo.

While Herrera tries to hit his way back into a groove, Howie Kendrick is in the midst of working his way back to the majors. He was hit by pitch twice in a rehab appearance Thursday but is back in the lineup Friday in left field. 

Mackanin said Kendrick needed four days minimum in his rehab assignment and will therefore play Friday and Saturday before the team sees how he feels.

The manager also said the team would give more playing time to backup catcher Andrew Knapp. He started consecutive games for the first time on Tuesday and Wednesday. 

"I'm going to try and see him as much as possible and keep him as sharp as possible instead of once a week," Mackanin said. "That's tough to hit, once a week. It's tough to hit twice a week if you don't hit back-to-back. There's no ulterior motive."

Report: Brett Brown accuses longtime friend of defrauding him of $750,000

brett-brown.jpg

Report: Brett Brown accuses longtime friend of defrauding him of $750,000

Sixers head coach Brett Brown is in Australia this week, where he has accused longtime friend and former Australian men's national team assistant coach Shane Heal of defrauding him of $750,000, according to the Australian Associated Press.

Brown invested $250,000 into each of three companies for which Heal was the sole director. Brown wasn't given a legal title regarding the companies and didn't know the specifics of how the money would be used.

"I assumed that the money was going to be used for what Shane told me it was going to be used for," Brown said. "Because it was a friend that I had for 25 years."

Heal was charged last year by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission following an investigation relating to alleged misconduct in 2008, 2009 and 2010, according to the AAP.

The sides return to court in Brisbane on July 20.

Heal played in the NBA for the Minnesota Timberwolves in 1996-97 and was with the San Antonio Spurs in 2003.