For Eagles, Vinny Curry's production just doesn't match his salary

For Eagles, Vinny Curry's production just doesn't match his salary

There’s no question Vinny Curry played better this year. There’s also no question it’s virtually impossible for a cap-strapped team to carry a defensive end with an $11 million cap figure if he’s not producing big-time numbers.

Curry, the Eagles’ second-round pick in 2012, finds himself in roster jeopardy following the Eagles’ move Wednesday to acquire veteran defensive end Michael Bennett (see story).

Curry, who signed a five-year, $47.25 million contract after the 2015 season, looks like the odd man out in a defensive end rotation that now includes 2017 Pro Bowlers Brandon Graham and Bennett, impressive rookie Derek Barnett and solid veteran Chris Long.

Last year, Graham had 9½ sacks, Bennett had 8½ for the Seahawks and Barnett and Long each had five as rotational players with the Eagles.

Curry had just three despite starting all 16 games and has just nine sacks in his last 50 games.

Of 29 defensive ends who started at least 12 games last year, only two had fewer sacks than Curry.

Yet he earned $7 million in base salary last year with a cap figure of $9 million.

In 2018, Curry is scheduled to earn $9 million with a cap figure of $11 million, but if the Eagles release him he’ll only count $6 million in dead money — a $5 million cap savings.

Curry, who turns 30 in June, seemed to be on the brink of a breakthrough with his nine-sack season in 2014, and the Eagles paid him for it. He was 26 years old and looked like one of the NFC’s rising stars at defensive end.

But he just never was able to build on that success. He netted 3½ sacks in 2015, 2½ in 2016 and three this past year.

Curry wasn’t terrible. He got decent pressure on the quarterback, and he was better against the run than he had been in previous years.

But the big plays didn’t come. Curry has forced one fumble over the last three seasons, and 101 players league-wide have more sacks than he does since opening day of 2015.

This was Curry’s first year as a starter, and he played the third-most snaps of any Eagles defensive lineman — 576, only 31 fewer than Fletcher Cox.

Curry has played 84 games in an Eagles uniform and netted 22 sacks.

For the sake of comparison, 68 active players, including 44 defensive linemen, had more sacks in their first 84 career games.

He’s earned over $26 million since the Eagles drafted him in the second round out of Marshall in 2012.

Curry grew up in Central Jersey as an Eagles fan and has always been a popular member of the team.

He’s one of only seven players left on the roster from Andy Reid’s last season with the Eagles.

But it certainly appears his six-year tenure in Philadelphia is about to end.

Mic'd up Mike Trout shouts out Eagles during All-Star Game, will try to make season opener

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Mic'd up Mike Trout shouts out Eagles during All-Star Game, will try to make season opener

Who's a bigger Philly sports fan than Mike Trout?

While mic'd up during the second inning of the All-Star Game Tuesday night, Trout was congratulated by Joe Buck for the Eagles' Super Bowl win and Trout beamed instantly.

He even shouted out Zach Ertz and Carson Wentz by name, hoping they were watching.

Trout's Angels are actually off the night of the Eagles' season opener, Sept. 6 against the Falcons.

Would he be able to make it to the game? 

Asked Monday by NBC 10 Eagles producer Rob Kuestner, Trout said he hasn't decided yet but will try to swing it.

It would be a tough arrangement because the Angels are in Texas the night before and in Chicago the night after. But we're talking here about a season-ticket holding superfan to whom money is no object. Seems like a night he'd have a tough time missing.

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These criticisms of Alshon Jeffery should make you laugh

These criticisms of Alshon Jeffery should make you laugh

There was an interesting series of tweets regarding Alshon Jeffery Tuesday morning from Chris Raybon, who hosts a gambling show called “I’ll Take That Bet” on ESPN+ and also writes often about fantasy sports.

Raybon’s general point was that Jeffery has underachieved the last few years, that he's not a true No. 1 receiver and that his numbers have declined since his four-game suspension in 2016 for a positive PED test.

Raybon’s tweets were all factually accurate, but they bothered me. For a few reasons.

First of all, Raybon tweeted that Jeffery has gone 30 straight games without a 100-yard game.

Then he tweeted that Jeffery hasn’t had a 100-yard game since his PED suspension.

And he pointed out correctly that Jeffery’s catches and yards have gone down each year over the last three seasons, although his notion that Jeffery’s nine touchdowns last year “masked” a decline in production is kind of bizarre. Isn’t scoring touchdowns the whole idea of playing football?

The first most basic error Raybon makes is equating 100-yard games to success. Since when do we measure a receiver’s value by 100-yard games? 

Eagles receivers had a total of three 100-yard games all last year — Zach Ertz vs. the Bears, Nelson Agholor vs. the Seahawks and Torrey Smith vs. the Rams.

That really held the team back, didn't it.

It’s called being balanced.

The Eagles still had the No. 3 scoring offense in the NFL, went 13-3 and won a Super Bowl. They had one QB make the Pro Bowl and another one named Super Bowl MVP. I would argue that the lack of 100-yard receivers made the Eagles more unpredictable, more dangerous, more difficult to defend. 

If you want to make the point that it doesn’t make sense to draft any Eagles receiver in fantasy because the Eagles are so balanced offensively, that’s fine.

But trying to make a case that Jeffery underachieved or is overpaid or overrated because his yards were spread out fairly evenly throughout the season instead of in groups of 100 yards is just silly.

The fact that Jeffery didn’t have any 100-yard games is irrelevant. That was never the goal. Including the postseason, he had 60 or more yards nine times, and only 11 wide receivers league-wide had more games with 60 or more yards. 

I’d rather have a guy catch 60 yards week in and week out than have 100 here and nine there. And if we're simply measuring fantasy value, how do you argue with 12 touchdowns — nine in the regular season and three more in the playoffs?

Only DeAndre Hopkins had more (13).

But here’s what really bothered me. 

None of Raybon’s tweets addressed Jeffery’s terrific production in the postseason.

Playing with a torn rotator cuff injury that required offseason surgery, Jeffery had 12 catches for 219 yards and three touchdowns in wins over the Falcons, Vikings and Patriots.

Only 11 other players in NFL history have had 200 receiving yards and three TDs in a postseason playing for a Super Bowl champion. Guys like Rice, Fitz, Swann and Boldin.

In 19 games, Jeffery had 69 catches, 1,008 yards and 12 TDs.

Here's a list of players in Eagles history with 60 catches, 1,000 yards and 12 TDs in a season: McDonald, Carmichael, Quick, Owens, Jeffery.

Guess they all stink.

Jeffery was such a big-play guy in the postseason. He had a 53-yard touchdown catch against the Vikings. You know what other receivers have had 50-yard TD catches against the Vikings’ vaunted defense the last two years?

Yeah. Nobody.

He had 73 yards in the Super Bowl, for crying out loud, including a high-flying miracle 34-yard touchdown that gave the Eagles the lead in the first quarter and pretty much showed the world that the Patriots were in for a battle in Minneapolis on Feb. 4.

You know what other receivers have had TD catches longer than 30 yards against the Patriots in the playoffs the last four years?

Yeah. Nobody.

Jeffery last year had 18 first-down catches on third down in the regular season, and only eight receivers in the league had more. He had four more in the playoffs.

If you’re looking for a guy to clean up in fantasy football with meaningless stats, stay away from Jeffery.

If you’re looking for big catches at big moments, if you’re looking for an unselfish team leader who never complained when the ball didn’t come his way, if you’re looking for a champion, Jeffery's your guy.

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