Howie Strikes Again, Gets Curry Deal Done
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - Howie Roseman learned the tricks of the NFL trade under the tutelage of Joe Banner and the Eagles executive vice president of football operations continues to implement a Banner-like strategy of identifying the core, young talent under his umbrella and locking them up with long-term, team-friendly deals.
The latest to cash in was pass-rushing defensive end Vinny Curry, a square peg in the round hole of a Chip Kelly/Bill Davis 3-4 scheme but a presumed difference maker in Jim Schwartz's preferred 4-3 philosophy based on aggression and edge rushers who can get up the field.
Curry agreed to a five-year deal worth $47.25 million with $23 million of that guaranteed, according to multiple media reports.
He's just the latest player Roseman has signed to an extension in recent weeks, joining tight ends Zach Ertz and Brent Celek, as well as right tackle Lane Johnson.
Curry's deal may look bloated to outsiders because he has been a part-time player throughout his rookie deal after being selected as the 59th overall pick in the 2012 draft out of Marshall. Other teams around the league, however, see Curry as a diamond in the rough, a natural weak-side rusher with plenty of tread left on the tire and because of that, there is little doubt he could have gotten more money on the open market.
He now projects as a starting left end in Schwartz's defense and a potential, double-digit sack guy opposite Brandon Graham and next to an interior of Fletcher Cox and Bennie Logan.
While Curry is not a traditional base end in a 4-3, the new "spread and shred" style of so many offenses in the league makes it far easier to keep pass rushers on the field at both end spots.
Had Kelly remained in Philadelphia, Curry would have moved on after a season in which he was moved to outside linebacker for a short time before moving back up front, largely as an interior rusher in the team's nickel package.
He ended up playing in 426 of the team's defensive snaps and was rated as 46th best interior defender in football by ProFootballFocus.com. Understand, however, Curry was playing out of position most of the time and as a pass rusher he was rated as the 10th best inside option in the NFL.
In his four NFL seasons, Curry has 16 1/2 career sacks despite never playing more than 35 percent of the team's defensive snaps in any season.
A native of Neptune, NJ, Curry grew up an Eagles fan and once Doug Pederson and Schwartz took over, it was considered a fait accompli that Curry would be staying if the Eagles offered up a competitive offer.
"It all started with Ricky Watters," Curry said when discussing his love of the Eagles. "I originally wanted to play running back and he was my favorite player. After that I just loved rooting for them. I have pictures and jerseys all over my house."
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973ESPN.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen