After eight years with the team, Jason Avant has been cut by the Philadelphia Eagles, according to their official website. The 30-year old wide receiver is the first Eagles player to be released after the end of the 2013 NFL season.
Avant had a $1 million roster bonus due next week. By releasing him, the Eagles will save $2.75 million of cap space.
Jason Avant was a Michigan Wonverine before entering the 2006 NFL Draft. He was picked by Andy Reid’s Eagles in the fourth round.
In his eight years as an Eagle, Avant played 116 games and had 3,646 yards and 12 touchdowns. He was used mainly as a slot receiver, but never made a big impact. His biggest contribution, however, wasn’t as a player but as a team leader and a mentor. He had a big impact at the locker room culture and atmosphere.
Eagles onwer Jeff Lurie stated the following about Avant:
“There have not been any players who have represented the Philadelphia Eagles with more class and dignity than Jason Avant. Whether it was in the locker room, on the playing field or in the community, he has always been a true professional, a role model and a winner every step of the way. On behalf of the entire organization, I wish Jason and his wife Stacy, and their two daughters, nothing but the best as he continues his fine career.”
The statements made by general manager Howie Roseman and head coach Chip Kelly followed the same line. Both hailed Avant as a true professional and great teammate.
The production wasn’t there, but everyone loved Avant. The Eagles were way under the cap and still they released him. Why did they do that?
With DeSean Jackson, Riley Cooper and Jeremy Maclin already on the roster, Avant was falling down the Eagles’ depth chart. Paying your fourth receiver more than $3 million is not a common tactic for NFL teams. Philadelphia could afford him, but considered Avant’s salary too high for what he offered.
By cutting him now, the Eagles increase their available cap money to $23 million. With only a few weak spots on the roster, they have the ability to go after any free agent they want. The offense is more or less set, so it is reasonable to think the Birds will look to strengthen their defense.
Can you think of any high-priced free agents who play a defensive position that is considered an Eagles’ weakness?
Despite the inglorious ending of Jason Avant’s stint with the Eagles, he will always be remembered as one of the most beloved players in Philadelphia. Here’s hoping he will retire as an Eagle someday.