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
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?
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