Two potential new defensive starters.
One former veteran who wanted to call Jacksonville home again.
It was a pretty good day for the Jaguars on Thursday. The announcement that the team had signed former Seattle Seahawks pass rusher Chris Clemons and former Steelers defensive tackle Ziggy Hood was part of the continued process to make the Jaguars contenders in the AFC South and the AFC as a whole. But in reality, nothing might have meant more than having Jason Babin re-sign with the team after voiding his contract just two days ago.
Babin, who spent part of 2012 and the entire 2013 season with the Jaguars, re-signed with the team on Thursday, a move that came four days after he had voided the final two years of his contract to become a free agent. Babin, 33, who will enter his 11th NFL season this year, has 62.5 career sacks, with 7.5 coming last season for the Jaguars when he was the starter at the team’s Leo pass-rushing position.
While there is excitement throughout EverBank Field and the front offices of the team for the acquisitions of key defensive players like Clemons, Hood, Dekoda Watson, and Red Bryant, the return of Babin, the leader of the team with 7.5 sacks last season, brings in an accomplished veteran to help apply pressure to the opposing quarterback.
"This was my first choice all along," Babin said in Michael DiRocco’s ESPN.com story. "During free agency there's always conversations and talks and other things with other teams, but ultimately this is where I wanted to finish my career out."
Babin was scheduled to make $6.175 million in each of the final two years of his contract. He knew the Jaguars were looking to renegotiate his contract because it was more than the team wanted to pay for a player his age. He, according to reports on ESPN.com earlier in the week, remained in touch with the team – hoping to re-sign with them.
Babin was able to void his contract because of a rule in the new collective bargaining agreement that allows a vested veteran claimed after the trading deadline -- which the Jaguars did in 2012 -- to declare themselves a free agent after the season following the season in which he was claimed.