When the Philadelphia Eagles cut two-time Pro Bowl defensive end Jason Babin, everyone figured he'd wind up on a contender somewhere looking for a late-season boost.
Instead, he was signed by the Jacksonville Jaguars who are closer to competing for the first pick in the draft than the playoffs.
Ryan O'Halloran of the Florida Times-Union details the signing and the cap ramifications of the decision to sign Babin. By making a waiver claim, the Jaguars inherit Babin's existing contract, with the caveat that the bonus money has already been paid by the Eagles.
That means that Jacksonville is ultimately responsible only for the outstanding portion of Babin's 2012 salary with no penalty to the cap should they part ways with Babin after the season.
For a relatively small gamble, the Jaguars can evaluate Babin for the rest of the year and keep him if they like what they see.
Babin's 5.5 sacks in 2012 aren't close to the 18 sacks he posted last season, but they are more than double what any Jaguars' pass-rusher had posted this season.
Signing Babin was a no-risk move that signals to the Jaguars' fans that the franchise is still trying to win. No one will ever accuse the Jaguars of tanking the final five games of their season hoping to get the top pick.
If the 32-year old Babin still has elite pass-rushing ability, the Jaguars will have secured his services for far cheaper than what they could have hoped to attain on the free-agent market.
If Babin stays on the roster for the rest of the year and picks up a few sacks, he may be able to generate enough goodwill for the franchise from disgruntled fans looking for signs of life to have been worth the risk.
More importantly, if he sticks with the Jaguars into the 2013 campaign, he could have a big impact in revitalizing a moribund pass rush.
Several other teams had the same idea about Babin, but the Jaguars won their waiver claim thanks to their 2-9 record. That's evidence enough that a lot of people around the league think he has value.
This move is a sign that Jacksonville has a team that is trying. They are trying to win. They are trying to get better.
Whether the move works out or not, it's a refreshing attitude.
I talk football with Tuck and O'Neill on Sports Talk Florida.
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