The Jaguars have released veteran defensive end Jason Babin, the team announced today (Twitter link via Michael DiRocco of ESPN.com). As a player with more than four years of NFL experience, Babin won’t be subject to the waiver system and immediately becomes an unrestricted free agent, able to sign with any team.
Babin, who turned 34 in May, played in all 16 games last season for the Jaguars, racking up 31 tackles, 7.5 sacks, three forced fumbles, and two passes defended. After voiding his contract early in the offseason, Babin indicated a strong preference to return to Jacksonville, and ultimately re-signed with the club on a three-year deal. However, that agreement was heavily incentive-laden, with only $500K in guaranteed money, giving Jacksonville an out to move on from the veteran.
As Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union notes (via Twitter), there are younger players on the roster that the Jaguars like, and if the team recognized now that those players would beat out Babin for a roster spot, Jacksonville is doing him a favor by giving him more time to land elsewhere. Even at age 34, the former first-round pick isn’t far removed from a 2011 season in which he piled up 18 sacks for the Eagles, and he has remained relatively productive since then, so he should receive some interest on the open market.