After recording his best season in half a decade, Vinny Curry deserves another contract with the Philadelphia Eagles, right? Let’s investigate his options.
Firmly situated into a backup role behind Brandon Graham, and Derek Barnett, Curry had his best professional season since 2014 as the Eagles’ top inside-out reserve rusher – amassing five sacks, six QB hits, seven hurries, 18 pressures, and 27 combine tackles on 393 defensive snaps.
The last time Curry put up numbers even comparable was all the way back in 2014, when he had nine sacks in a similar part-time role, and effectively parlayed that success, in addition to the hiring of Jim Schwartz, into a five-year, $42.5 million deal after a down 2015 season.
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Whether Curry’s production was a byproduct of luck, more specific workload, or the ‘grass isn’t always greener’ culture shock of being signed and released by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers over the course of one season, it’s clear the Neptune, NJ native had a bit of a career renaissance reunited with his childhood favorite team.
Now back on the open market after completing his one-year, $2.5 million contract, re-signing Curry to a similar deal should be a no-brainer, right?
You see, much like in 2016 when the New York Giants were reportedly very interested in snatching Curry away from their NFC East rivals, the other professional team that plays football in New Jersey, ironically called the New York Jets, have reportedly shown interest in making the eighth-year pro an offer he can’t refuse.
Two years into a defensive culture shift under ex-Cleveland Browns coordinator-turned-interim head coach Gregg Williams and ex-Howie Roseman disciple Joe Douglas, adding a veteran like Curry who can not only contribute at a high level but do so while serving as a mentor in the locker room for players like Quinnen Williams makes a ton of sense for a rebuilding team like the Jets.
Heck, after bringing a gun to LaGuardia Airport earlier this month, any measures designed to help the former third overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft reach his potential should be priority number one from a front office job-retention standpoint alone.
The Jets can surely offer more money than the Eagles, potentially more playing time, and an opportunity to continue to play in front of his friends and family, albeit with a slightly different commute to the stadium each week.
Curry brought a Super Bowl trophy back to Philly for the first time ever; his legacy is more or less set in his adoptive city.
However, after leaving Philly once, against his will mind you, to play one disastrous season with the pre-Tom Brady Buccaneers, would Curry really be willing to risk making that same mistake again?
Curry is a fit in Schwartz’s scheme both as a base-down edge rusher and kicked inside on obvious passing downs. While the team did sign Javon Hargrave and Hassan Ridgeway in free agency, a pair of defensive tackles who should kick Malik Jackson onto the outside with increased frequency, there are still snaps to be had at either position if the Eagles again opt to go eight players deep across the defensive line. Give him 400-ish snaps and see if he can do it again, right?
Then again, the Eagles have been on a bit of a youth movement as of late and may prefer to give those snaps to 2016 fourth-round draftee Josh Sweat, or Genard Avery, the player Roseman traded a 2021 fourth-round pick to Cleveland to acquire. Both players are much faster than Curry, much younger than Curry, and fit the ‘fastball off the edge‘ role the Eagles have lacked since Chris Long retired.
Maybe the Eagles wouldn’t even want to re-sign Curry if he offered to come back for $2 million.
At the tender age of 32, Vinny Curry only has so many seasons left to play in the NFL. If 2019 is of any indication, he can still rush the passer at a high level, but finding the right fit will be key to extending his viability deep into his mid-30s. Is that fit with the Philadelphia Eagles, the New York Jets, or maybe some weird, out-of-left-field random team like, say, the Arizona Cardinals? Only time will tell, but I guess free agency has a few more surprises up its metaphorical sleeve after all.