The Eagles are expected to release defensive lineman Vinny Curry, but could attempt to restructure his contract before making the cut official, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (all Twitter links). Meanwhile, other NFL clubs are expressing interest in trading for Curry, per Rapoport.
Philadelphia, of course, is coming off a Super Bowl title, but now faces an offseason of cost-cutting. Releasing Curry represents the first of those moves, as parting ways with the veteran defender will clear his $9MM base salary from the Eagles’ 2018 books. However, $6MM worth of Curry’s prorated bonus money will now immediately accelerated onto Philadelphia’s salary cap, leaving the club with a net savings of $5MM.
For most teams, a $5MM cap savings would represent a drop in the bucket, but it’s a critical total for the Eagles, who were a projected $10.41MM over the cap before cutting Curry. Philadelphia will still be over the cap following Curry’s release, so more transactions — which could potentially include cutting wide receiver Torrey Smith or trading backup quarterback Nick Foles — are likely on the table.
Curry, 29, played the most defensive snaps of his career (576) of his career in 2017, and saw the third-most playtime among Eagles defensive lineman. While Curry managed only three sacks, he posted 28.5 quarterback pressures and graded as the NFL’s No. 21 edge defender, per Pro Football Focus, which assigned Curry excellent marks for his run defense.
Philadelphia, though, has cheaper options along its defensive line. Brandon Graham will earn just $8MM in base salary in 2018, the final year of his contract, while Chris Long will collect only $2.25MM. And the Eagles used their 2017 first-round pick on edge rusher Derek Barnett, who is under team control through at least 2020 at cost effective rates.
Given his track record and his ability to slide to defensive tackle in sub packages, Curry should be able to generate a market in free agency. He’ll be aided by a weak free agent defensive end class, as well as the fact that he won’t factor into the 2019 compensatory pick formula now that’s been released.
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