There's no question Vinny Curry played better this year. There's also no question that 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 9 ½ sacks, Bennett had eight 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.
Complete coverage of the Philadelphia Eagles and their NFL rivals from NBC Sports Philadelphia.
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 3 ½ sacks in 2015, 2 ½ 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 very 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 that his six-year tenure in Philadelphia is about to end.