Why the Jaguars Claimed Jason Babin and Other AFC South Must-Reads

Nate Dunlevy@NateDunlevyGuest ColumnistNovember 29, 2012

Babin brings a strong pass rush to Jacksonville
Babin brings a strong pass rush to JacksonvilleNorm Hall/Getty Images

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.


General Interest

I talk football with Tuck and O'Neill on Sports Talk Florida.

Khaled Elsayed of Pro Football Focus looks at the best and worst pass-blocking tackles.

Tom Gower and Mike Kurtz of the Football Outsiders talk mascots.


Houston Texans

Sam Monson of Pro Football Focus calls Duane Brown the best left tackle in football.

Paul Kuharsky of ESPN.com asks if Connor Barwin cost himself money.

Tania Ganguli of the Houston Chronicle says Andre Johnson has had an incredible two-game run.

Mike Tanier of Sports on Earth takes a look at Adderall abuse.


Indianapolis Colts

Ben Savage of Colts Authority looks at the Indianapolis run defense.

Phil B. Wilson of the Indianapolis Star looks at the whole history of Josh Chapman's injury.

Wilson posts video of Andrew Luck talking about the Indy offense.

Scott Kacsmar of Colts Authority tracks Andrew Luck's play.

Bill Barnwell of Grantland argues for Robert Griffin III over Luck for Rookie of the Year.


Tennessee Titans

Tom Gower of Total Titans talks field position and the Titans' offense.

John Glennon of the Tennessean says lots of people back Dowell Loggains as offensive coordinator.

Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean says there won't be any more in-season changes to the coaching staff according to Mike Munchak.


Jacksonville Jaguars

Vito Stellino of the Florida Times-Union says Rashad Jennings will once again get a chance to show what he's made of.

O'Halloran writes that Jalen Parmele won a costly game ball.

Kuharsky likes the move to sign Babin.