Make Babin a Brown
This one falls under the category “what do they have to lose?”
The Philadelphia Eagles Tuesday placed defensive end Jason Babin on waivers. And wouldn’t he look nice in a Cleveland Browns uniform.
There is no question the Browns need help at defensive end when it comes to making sure opposing quarterbacks feel as uncomfortable as possible when they drop back to pass.
There is also no question the team is much stronger at defensive tackle with the return to health of Phil Taylor and Ahtyba Rubin. But the flanks need plenty of help. And that’s where Babin would be a perfect fit.
Outside of Jabaal Sheard, the Browns have no one who can apply pressure from the outside. The second-year man has had to deal with double teams all season. Put Babin on the right side and those double teams disappear.
OK, the Browns are tied for 11th in sacks in the National Football League with 27, but they have been distributed among 16 players. Four players – D’Qwell Jackson, Juqua Parker, Frostee Rucker and Sheard – lead the team with three.
With a weapon like Babin opposite Sheard, the Browns would have two players capable of registering double digits in dropping quarterbacks. Just another weapon for defensive coordinator Dick Jauron to have fun with.
Sure, the Browns are just 3-8 this season. So why do they need someone like Babin right now? He’s 32 years old, in his eighth NFL season and arguably past his peak. And he’s got only 5½ sacks this season, which, by the way, led the Eagles before his release.
So why go after him? Well, first of all, 5½ is 2½ better than anyone on the Browns. Second of all, he had 18 sacks last season with the Eagles and 12½ the season before with the Tennessee Titans. He didn’t ring up those numbers by accident. The man knows how to rush the quarterback.
At 6-3, 265 pounds, he is the prototypical defensive end in the 4-3 scheme. He would be the perfect complement to Sheard and relegate Parker and Rucker to strictly running situations.
Whoever claims Babin will be on the hook for $1.64 million for the rest of this season. The surprising move by the Eagles looks like a salary dump. It creates $3.7 million in cap space for them next season.
Babin also has three years and $16.65 million left on his original five-year contract. That money is not guaranteed. He’d be a cheap pickup.
The Browns need a personality on both sides of the ball, but defense is all about attitude and the addition of Babin would go a long way in developing the kind of attitude and swagger this team needs to become more than just fodder on a weekly basis.
Even if he’s around for just two or three seasons, it would be worth it to bring in someone like him to help establish the culture they’re looking for.
If Jimmy Haslam III and Joe Banner want to create a winning atmosphere, they’ve got to go out and get guys who know how to win and be successful. And Babin, with his Philadelphia connection, is one of those guys.
Banner knows Babin, So do Tom Heckert Jr. and Pat Shurmur. They know what he can do. They know he can be a valuable contributor to the Browns’ cause.
So what do they have to lose by going after him? Absolutely nothing.