Philadelphia Eagles: Is Vinny Curry worth another look?

(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /

Roughly one year removed from winning a Super Bowl, Vinny Curry is officially back on the open market. Should the Philadelphia Eagles give him another look?

Vinny Curry is a free agent. Woo!

That’s right, the Philadelphia Eagles‘ former Stylin’ and Profilin’ defensive end has been released by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers following a less than stellar 2018 season and will be free to sign whenever he pleases immediately.

That team should be his hometown team; the Philadelphia Eagles.

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A native of Neptune, New Jersey, Curry is a lifelong Eagles fan who was reportedly (almost) crushed at the thought of giving up his fandom in the lead-up to the 2012 NFL Draft.

Fortunately, that didn’t have to happen, as he was selected 59th overall by Andy Reid following a successful career at FCS Marshall.

Has he been particularly consistent over his first seven seasons in the NFL? Well, no, not really, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he can’t be moving forward.

Over his first 96 games in the league, Curry only recorded 24.5 sacks in 16 starts, good for an average of 3.5 a season.

Again, not great, but those numbers aren’t too far off from Brandon Graham‘s mark over his first 96 games in the league (29 over in 39 starts).

And much like Graham, Curry has been run through the wringer of three different defensive schemes in six years.

A member of Reid’s final draft class in Philly, Curry was initially drafted to play defensive end in the team’s then-wide-nine defensive scheme, with the ability to shift inside on obvious passing downs. However, once Chip Kelly, Billy Davis, and the bend-and-still-break 3-4 defense came to town, Curry was a man without a position.

Still lining up at defensive end, the same position as Fletcher Cox despite a 31 pounds weight difference, Curry averaged about a third of the team’s defensive snaps but was surprisingly effective when his number was called, averaging 16.5 sacks as a reserve, including a breakout nine-sack performance in 2014.

And then Doug Pederson came to town.

Like Mana from heaven, Jim Schwartz found his way to the City of Brotherly Love in an attempt to revitalize his career following a disastrous tenure in Detroit and Curry looked like he could become a full-time starter once more, just in time for his first test of free agency.

Sure, Curry didn’t break out with a double-digit sack performance over his first four years in South Philly, but he did have the ideal size, experience, and skill set to be an effective defensive end in a scheme (presumably) designed for his skill set.

To make matters worse, the Giants appeared primed to offer the NJ native a new deal.

Now Curry’s production wasn’t fantastic, but could you imagine losing him to the Giants, and watching him blossom into the next Michael Strahan?

That would have been a disaster.

So to prevent that catastrophic event from taking place, the Eagles stepped up to the table and secured their local prospect on a 5-year, $47.5 million deal, making Curry the second highest paid player on the team in 2017.

In hindsight, maybe Philly should have just let him walk.

Now, don’t get me wrong, Curry was still productive from 2016-17, a vital cog in the team’s Super Bowl championship run, but he never quite lived up to his almost $10 million a year price tag.

So mere weeks after riding down Broad Street as Super Bowl championship, Howie Roseman made the tough decision to cut Curry loose from his contract, allowing him to hit the open market for the first time of his career.

However, Curry’s unemployment didn’t last long; as he was quickly swooped up by a struggling Tampa Bay Buccaneers squad looking to follow in the footsteps of Philly’s championship formula with a bloated defensive rotation.

Spoiler alert; it didn’t work.

Sure, the Bucs beat Philly in Week 2 and started the season 3-1, but from there, the team was an absolute train wreck, with their defensive coordinator, Mike Smith, being fired after Week 6, with their head coach following suit at the end of the season.

With Bruce Arians taking his place, it was clear Curry was a square peg in a round hole, and according to Adam Schefter, was released from his contract less than a year after signing a 3-year $23 million deal.

While Curry will certainly receive another contract moving forward, as he is a year removed from being a Super Bowl starter, this very well could be his final chance to find a lasting contract in the NFL, before being relegated to the unfortunate distinction of being a journeyman edge rusher; a fate worse than coming off the bench.

Which brings us back to Philadelphia.

Sure, Curry wasn’t a particularly effective starter in Schwartz’s scheme, but he does have 32 games of experience in the scheme, experience that few other players in the NFL can match.

Is he worth another multi-year, eight-figure deal? Probably not based on his recent track record, but if Curry were willing to take a one-year, prove it deal, he a chance to return to the city that made him and his favorite team, re-entering Schwartz’s defensive end rotation as a wily vet with a chip on his shoulder.

While he probably wouldn’t earn a start over Derek Barnet or Michael Bennet, Curry could serve as a very nice third man in the rotation, helping to alleviate the hole left by Brandon Graham and Chris Long should either opt to leave the team come March.

Could you imagine a four defensive end package with Bennett and Curry rushing from the interior? That could be scary on obvious passing downs.

And really, bringing back Curry just feels right.

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Sure, he helped to force Roseman’s hand, as he wasn’t willing to re-negotiate his contract before the 2018 season, but any fan in the 215 could tell from a mile away that Curry didn’t want to leave his adoptive home to join the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, no matter how quickly he signed the deal. By re-signing Vinny Curry, the Philadelphia Eagles could attempt to recapture their 2017 form and take another shot at a Lombardi Trophy. Woo!