A year after releasing him, the Eagles have brought back Vinny Curry. The defensive end signed with the team Thursday for one year and $2.25 million.
Our four beat writers weigh in on the decision:
Well, ya can’t beat the price, I guess. Reports indicate a very modest one-year deal for Vinny Curry, cut by the Bucs a year after signing what was supposed to be a three-year, $19.5 million deal, secured on the wings of the Eagles’ Super Bowl victory.
Curry, a second-round Eagles draft choice in 2012, was a solid, versatile Eagle who was drafted as a 4-3 defensive end, adapted to the 3-4 under Chip Kelly and Bill Davis, then went back to the 4-3 and helped the Eagles win a title.
But as Curry approaches his 31st birthday in June, it’s hard to see him moving the needle. He’s sturdy. He can take some snaps. He can fill in inside, at 6-foot-3, 279 pounds. He knows Jim Schwartz’s scheme. But do the Eagles need to bring back everybody who ever left? Is Matt Tobin next?
Except for that nine-sack season in limited action back in 2014, Curry has been pretty average. And while it’s understandable that some guys are going to be older when you’re looking for veteran backups, the Eagles seem allergic to signing anyone younger than 30 this offseason.
Nothing really wrong with bringing back Vinny, but at the very least, the Eagles need to draft a few promising young D-linemen next month.
Thomas Wolfe wrote you can’t go home again. Howie Roseman seems determined to prove that the late novelist didn’t know what the hell he was talking about.
Two weeks ago, the Eagles’ football-ops boss brought back DeSean Jackson. Thursday, he did the same with defensive end Vinny Curry. Can LeSean McCoy be far behind?
I wasn’t a fan of the trade for Jackson, and I’m not crazy about bringing back Curry, either.
Granted, he cost next to nothing and likely will have only a marginal role, assuming everyone else stays healthy, which almost never happens. He’s a hard worker, a good guy, and low maintenance. Whatever they ask him to do, he’ll do.
As with the Andrew Sendejo signing, the Eagles were looking for a short-term fix. An older guy who would be OK with a backup role for a year while they drafted and developed some younger players.
And that’s fine. The problem is, the number of older, short-term fixes on the Eagles roster is starting to get alarmingly high. While older guys have more experience, they also break down more easily.
Curry is a versatile player who can play inside or outside, a valuable commodity for a defensive lineman in today’s NFL. But so could Michael Bennett, whom the Eagles abruptly traded to the Patriots a few weeks back.
Curry is much cheaper than Bennett, won’t gripe about his playing time, and doesn’t have Bennett’s, uh, quirky personality.
But he also won’t have as many sacks this season.
I will never object to adding a solid defensive end on a good contract, and that’s how I view this move. Remove the sentiment and the history, and the Eagles improved their defensive-line depth. So I like the move from that perspective. And it’s a reasonable price — remember, Curry signed a three-year, $23 million contract with Tampa Bay one year ago. He had an injury-plagued season, and the Eagles get him on a relatively discounted contract.
So why not the full thumbs up? Because I think there’s some sentiment involved here, too. Curry was with the Eagles for six seasons, was drafted by Howie Roseman, and was given a contract extension by Roseman. It’s easy to look at adding him and see the name and have the memories of Curry from the past and think it’s a slam dunk.
But Curry hasn’t had more than 3.5 sacks in a season since 2014. He had 5.5 sacks in two seasons playing in Jim Schwartz’s scheme, and that included his year as a starter. Sure, there was a rotation, and Curry played well against the run, which is where I think he’ll help this defensive line. He also applied more pressure than the sacks numbers suggest.
But I think it’s important to remember Curry for what he is. And there’s an opportunity cost associated with this move. How does this affect Josh Sweat’s development? Is this playing time that could have gone to a draft pick?
When looking at the big picture, I like the idea of having experienced depth. But this continues the trend of the Eagles’ adding aging players. They’ve added five players this month. The ages are 29, 32, 29, 31, and 30. It’s a similar approach to last season, and it didn’t work as they had hoped. Time will tell if this year will be any different.
The Eagles aren’t quite finished this offseason, but I’m not overly impressed with what they’ve done at defensive end so far. Bringing Brandon Graham back was great and all, and they might have gotten market value, but he was the third-best edge rusher last season, behind Michael Bennett and Chris Long.
Bennett is gone via trade, and it’s starting to look as if Long won’t return. I get that Bennett can be a malcontent and that he and Long are both about to turn 34. But they combined for 15 1/2 sacks and 51 quarterback hits last year, and didn’t see starters’ snaps until after Derek Barnett was lost for the season.
Graham was coming off ankle surgery, so it’s fair to expect him to improve this year. Barnett was playing well before his injury, particularly against the run, but the jury is still deliberating on how good he can be.
Which brings us to Vinny Curry, who is now, on paper, the third end on the depth chart. Curry is nowhere near as effective a pass rusher as Bennett and Long. He is probably better against the run, and should help there, but that’s like having a No. 1 pitcher with no fastball.
Curry was given a giant contract before the 2016 season and delivered only 5 1/2 sacks in two seasons for Jim Schwartz. Quite frankly, I’m surprised Schwartz OK’d the return of Curry. He isn’t often critical of players, but the most prominent thing I can remember him saying about Curry is that he needed to keep his feet during his rushes. You can’t get to the quarterback from the ground.
Curry is a good guy and will step back into the Eagles locker room without missing a beat. He’ll be fine with a secondary role, and the price was right.
I get all that. And I get that the Eagles likely signed Curry after they found out that Long doesn’t want to return in a lesser role. I also get that recently signed defensive tackle Malik Jackson can line up outside on occasion. But he’s predominantly an inside rusher.
You need pressure from all angles. And Curry just isn’t a consistent enough rusher. Familiarity seems to be one of the main reasons he’s back. But there are other edge-rusher options out there, especially ones willing to take one-year, show-me contracts. Yes, the draft could provide another body, but rookie edge rushers, even first-round ones, hardly make an impact in their first seasons.