Put a Vinny Curry Reunion on the Back-Burner for Now
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - Eagles fans are extremely loyal so when they see a path for a former player to return to South Philadelphia, most focus their attention on the rear-view mirror.
Another one-time favorite who fits that description became available on Tuesday when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers released defensive end Vinny Curry as expected.
The Eagles made a salary-cap decision themselves on Curry last offseason when they were unable to work out a restructured deal and correctly assumed it wasn't tenable to carry the veteran at an $11 million cap number for 2018. Philadelphia did value Curry, however, and wanted to keep him as a rotational piece on the line but he would have been penciled in to take a step back in favor of Derek Barnett, the team's 2017 first-round pick.
Curry and his camp read the market right and got a solid deal in Tampa at three years for $23 million but he ended up played in only 12 games, amassing 21 tackles and 2 1/2 sacks. The Buccaneers also made a coaching change this offseason bringing in Bruce Arians, who has reunited with Todd Bowles as his defensive coordinator, meaning Tampa Bay will be moving away from a 4-3 front and to a more multiple 3-4 setup which doesn't fit Curry's skill set all that well.
All that manifested in one-and-done for Curry in Central Florida.
As for a reunion in Philadelphia, it's a possibility because the Eagles did value Curry when he was here but only under certain circumstances.
While the team is going to need bodies at DE and the betting lines say Brandon Graham is likely gone in free agency while Chris Long may retire. That puts Barnett, veteran Michael Bennett, who ultimately was a significant upgrade over Curry last season as a trade pickup from Seattle, and second-year man Josh Sweat, who is coming off a significant injury, in the mix, along with unproven youngsters like Daeshon Hall and Joe Ostman.
The Eagles will likely need reinforcements at the position but are coming up on a draft in which Howie Roseman has already called the defensive line talent "historic."
Adding a 31-year-old rotational player like Curry at the veteran minimum could be a viable Plan B if he's still available after the draft but that's all it is at this point.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen