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Eagles Release Two More In Curtis, Howard and more...

Eagles Release Veterans Curtis and Howard
By Lance Epstein

In two moves that should come as no shock to anyone, the Eagles have decided to release wide receiver Kevin Curtis and defensive linemen Darren Howard.

Curtis signed with the Eagles in 2007 as a unrestricted free agent from the St. Louis Rams. In his first season as an Eagle, he looked like the missing piece to the Eagles puzzle at wide receiver. That first year he pulled in 77 receptions and 1,110 yards.

However, the next two off-seasons saw the Eagles draft two stud wide receivers in Desean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin. Both saw immediate playing time, developed into a great tandem and eventually replaced Curtis as the team's starting wideouts. This is one of the reasons Andy Reid felt that it was time to move in another direction and release Curtis.

"Kevin is one of the classiest players I have ever been around," head coach Andy Reid said . "He's the type of player and person we like to build our team with. We just feel good about the young corps of receivers we have on our team at this point."

Furthermore, Curtis could not stay on the field for the Eagles. He suffered a sports hernia in 2008, which allowed him only to play in nine regular season games. Although Curtis played in all three post-season games and was outstanding with 12 receptions for 211 yards.

In 2009, a nagging knee injury cost him nearly the whole season. Curtis only suited up twice, where he caught three passes for 33 yards. In his three-year stint with the Eagles, he played in 28 games, caught 116 passes for 1,577 yards and eight touchdowns.

All that said, Curtis was expected to be released for multiple reasons. First, the Eagles locked up slot receiver Jason Avant to a five-year contract earlier this off-season and signed free agent wide receiver Hank Baskett.

Second, Curtis was due $4.5 million base salary next seasons, $5.3 in 2011 and over $7 million in 2012. Additionally, he had a roster bonus of $1.1 coming up in June. There was no way the Eagles were going to pay a fourth wide receiver $4.5 million, especially one that could not stay healthy.

Like Curtis, Howard signed with the Eagles as a free agent in 2006. Unlike Curtis, Howard played in all 64 games with the Eagles and their six post-season games.

In Howard's four-years with the Eagles, he recorded 22.5 sacks and 122 tackles playing both defensive end and defensive tackle. Howard, 33, recorded double digit sacks with 10 in 2008 and this past season had 6.5.

"Darren Howard has been one of our most productive and versatile members of our defense in the last couple of years," Reid said. " He is nothing but a solid players, leader and person on and off the field."

Again like Curtis, Howard was owed $4.5 million in base salary this upcoming season. In 2011, he was due a $4 million base salary and $4 roster bonus. The release of Howard means that the Eagles currently have only four defensive ends on the roster in Trent Cole, Darryl Tapp, Victor Abiamiri and Juqua Parker. I expect if a highly-touted defensive end like Derrick Morgan or Jason Pierre Paul falls in the draft, the Eagles will trade up tograb one of them or will take a DE in the first three rounds.

Since free agency has begun, the Eagles have released or traded seven players from the 2009-10 roster, which includes linebacker Will Witherspoon, running back Brian Westbrook, wide receivers Kevin Curtis and Reggie Brown, defensive ends Darren Howard and Chris Clemons and offensive lineman Shawn Andrews.

Some of the cuts or trades were done because the players were not highly productive for the Eagles this past season. Others like Howard and Westbrook, were released for financial situations but moreover they were considered to be at the twilight of their careers.

However the main reason for the releases and trades is because there is no salary cap in 2010. Since their is no salary cap, the Eagles can afford to get rid of bad contracts and not have to deal with the cap penalties and ramifications.

Most fans will view this as owner Jeffrey Lurie being cheap and saving money, but it is the right move to get rid of deadweight now. If a new collective bargaining agreement is agreed upon and there is a salary cap in 2011, the Eagles would be in even better cap position since they will not have these bad contracts on the books affecting their cap.

Other News:

I reported that when DE Darryl Tapp was traded to Philadelphia, that he and the Eagles were working on a extension. Wednesday night, the Eagles announced the three-year contract for Tapp.

Tapp will be No. 91. He chose the number 91 because it represented a new start in Philadelphia for him.

"Hopefully I can work my way up and become a starter," Tapp said. "I'm excited about it. I'm a Philadelphia Eagle."

As for running back Lesean McCoy, he changed his number on Wednesday to No. 25. He did this because it was the same number he wore while he was in college at Pitt. This past year he wore 29.

Finally, free agent DE Jason Babin signed a one-year $1 million offer-sheet with the Titans. The Eagles have said they are not going to match it.

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