Babin was claimed off waivers Wednesday by the Jacksonville Jaguars. Washington and Buffalo were the only other teams to put in claims. If he had passed through waivers, Babin would have become a free agent.
It's fair to surmise that he would have preferred to pick a playoff-contending team. Instead, Babin will finish out the season with the 2-9 Jaguars, who had first dibs after the 1-10 Chiefs passed. Babin's publicist said he was unavailable for comment.
Babin, 32, resurrected his career under the tutelage of Washburn. After bouncing among four teams - including the Eagles - he landed in Tennessee in 2010. Playing in Washburn's wide-nine scheme, Babin racked up 121/2 sacks and was voted into his first Pro Bowl.
Washburn left for the Eagles the next season, and Babin, a free agent, followed him, signing a five-year, $28 million contract with $5.5 million guaranteed. Babin notched 18 sacks in 2011 and made his second straight Pro Bowl.
But his production, along with that of the defensive line, slipped this season. Babin led the team with 51/2 sacks in 11 games, but his unyielding pursuit of quarterbacks left the left side of the defense susceptible to the run and misdirection plays.
Despite Babin's regression, only defensive end Trent Cole played more snaps this season. Washburn called Babin's number 40 times Sunday against the Panthers. Only Cole (46) and defensive tackle Mike Patterson (44) played more downs.
Defensive end Brandon Graham, who is expected to start in Babin's place, was asked if he had any inkling that Babin could go.
"No, because Coach Wash and nobody knew anything was about to happen like that," Graham said. "We always just talk after the game and we said we hope nobody leaves here because it was kind of ugly this last game."
Cole said that Babin was in Cole's garage when Reid called to let him know that he was being released.
"I was surprised," said Cole, who has 11/2 sacks and 33 hurries. "But it's the NFL. I've been in the league for eight years now and seen people come and go. It's just business."
Wide receiver Jeremy Maclin said that in light of the team's disappointing 3-8 record, players "were expecting the unexpected."
"I guess in a way you kind of expect something to happen," Patterson said. "You could look at it that way if you want to, but you just feel like the team is trying to make the best choice for us to win games."
Reid said the move was made to pave the way for younger defensive ends. Along with Graham, Vinny Curry and Phillip Hunt stand to get more snaps. Curry played in his first game Sunday and led all defensive linemen with five tackles on 21 snaps.
Graham started six games as a rookie in 2010 but suffered a season-ending knee surgery that December and has been slowly climbing his way back.
"This is my shot," Graham said. "This is what I asked for. This is what I wanted. And now it's here and I've got to take full advantage."
Sunday Night Football Reigns
For the second straight season, Sunday night football on NBC is the No. 1 show of the prime-time television season among viewers, households, and all key adult and male
demographics, according to Nielsen Media Research.
Philadelphia, however, has not helped the cause. The season average for Sunday night football in Philadelphia is tied for 30th among 56 metered markets.
That could change since the Eagles visit the Dallas Cowboys Sunday for an 8:20 p.m. game. The Birds also played the New York Giants at night on Sept. 30.
Eagles news as it happens:
Twitter: @Jeff_McLane @zberm
Contact Jeff McLane at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter @Jeff_McLane.