Dave Zangaro

Eagles Release DE Marcus Smith

Now you can call Marcus Smith a bust. 

And he's one of the biggest busts the Eagles have ever had. 

The Eagles on Wednesday afternoon released Smith, the former first-round pick, ending his disappointing three-year run in Philadelphia. Smith will need to clear waivers before becoming a free agent.

In 2014, the Eagles used the 26th overall pick in the draft to take Smith out of Louisville. At the time, despite his 14 1/2 sacks as a senior, many thought Smith was a reach at 26. 

Turns out they were right. Really right. 

Smith, 25, played in 37 games in his three seasons with the Eagles but never started one. He had just 24 tackles and four sacks in those three seasons, with a career high 2 1/2 coming in 2016. 

Smith joins Jerome McDougle as the only Eagles' first-round picks since 1960 to never start a game for them. And of 630 total NFL first-round picks from 1995 through 2014, Smith is one of just 13 to never start a game. Recently, Smith said it was his goal this season to become a starter, but instead he joins names like Danny Watkins, Jon Harris and McDougle on the list of all-time Eagles busts. 

Smith's best season came last year, but it still wasn't anywhere near good enough to keep him on the roster for another season. In 2016, he played a career high 218 defensive snaps (21 percent) but failed to make any significant impact. 

Despite his draft status a few years ago, the decision to release Smith on Wednesday wasn't a surprising one. The Eagles saved $1.48 million in cap space with the release and reportedly avoided paying him nearly $600K in a roster bonus that would be owed soon. 

This spring, Smith skipped the Eagles' OTAs after attending some voluntary workouts earlier in the spring. Upon his arrival at the Eagles' mandatory minicamp in June, Smith's reasoning for missing OTAs was that they were voluntary. 

"I'm expecting to be on the team," Smith said June 13. "I'm expecting to play. I'm expecting to have a great year."

Even if Smith would have survived training camp, he would have been buried on the Eagles' depth chart. While the Eagles already released Connor Barwin from last year's team, the team this season brings back Brandon Graham, Vinny Curry and Steven Means. They also added Chris Long as a free agent and drafted Derek Barnett in the first round. 

Smith, at minicamp in June, said he thought he had a future with the Eagles. That future in Philadelphia was short-lived, but his name will live in infamy in the city.

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