The Eagles on Wednesday released veteran linebacker DeMeco Ryans. (AP)
The Philadelphia Eagles announced on Wednesday afternoon that the team had released veteran linebacker DeMeco Ryans.
With the release of Ryans, the team cleared $3.5 million in cap space and avoided a $2.5 million payment that was due to Ryans in two weeks.
The Eagles made the move just about an hour before Eagles coach Doug Pederson and executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman were scheduled to meet with members of the media at the NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium.
“I just wanted to start off by thanking DeMeco Ryans,” Roseman said to CSNPhilly’s Reuben Frank before fielding questions. “What DeMeco Ryans has done for our football team, for our organization, the class he brought day in and day out, I just wish him the best as he goes forward in his career, and really in life.”
On March 11, the $2.5 million base salary was to be guaranteed while his cap number was schedule to be $4.5 million. Now, he will just count as $1 million in dead money against the cap.
“Sometimes there are hard decisions,” Pederson said. “Sometimes you have to move on from certain players. I love everything he’s stood for in the organization. He’s a great person, a great human being. But sometimes you just have to cut those ties and move on.”
Ryans was a two-time Pro Bowl linebacker with the Houston Texans before coming to Philadelphia. On locker clean 0ut day in January, he told Frank that he had wanted to stay in Philadelphia but knew the possibilities.
“As an older player, you understand that there’s always going to be change and you have to be ready to adapt to the changes and adjust,” Ryans said at his locker on Jan. 6. “The older you get, the more you understand that.Whatever God has in store for me, if it’s here, I’ll be here, if it’s somewhere else, then that will happen. I’m not worried about the new coach coming in or the changes. I’m not focusing my energy on worrying about that. Whoever they hire, they’re going to hire. It’s not my decision. Whatever it is, I’ll be fine.”
There was a lot of factors that helped to make the decision. The first is he turns 32 this summer. The other factor was that he never regained all of his speed following his second ruptured Achillies that happened midway through the 2014 season. The salary and cap figure were high and finally, under new defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, the team is moving to a 4-3 defense and it appears that Schwartz will be having Jordan Hicks be the starter at inside linebacker. So at best, Ryans would be the backup, but the team also re-signed Najee Good, a player that was cheaper, can back up inside and play special teams, something Ryans doesn’t do.
Ryans spent four years with the team and had five sacks, five interceptions and 21 pass deflections. Although the numbers aren’t very high, Ryans was an on the field leader and was very capable of covering tight ends and backs down field. In his four years with the Birds, he played just one playoff game, the wild-card loss to the New Orleans Saints after the 2013 season.
When Frank talked to Ryans last month, he made it clear he plans to play his 11th NFL season somewhere
“I’m just looking to play another year of ball, wherever it may be,” he said. “Whatever happens happens. NFL, you always have to be ready to adapt and change to whatever comes your way. Mentally, I’m prepared for whatever it may be.”