JACKSONVILLE – The Leo spot got a little less crowded Thursday morning.
It got that way with the Jaguars releasing their sacks leader from last season – and a player they re-signed early this offseason.
Jason Babin, an 11-year veteran defensive end who started at the Jaguars' Leo pass-rushing position last season, was released by the Jaguars on Thursday morning, several hours before the team's final 2014 minicamp practice.
Babin, 34, started 16 games last season and registered 7.5 sacks. He had been claimed off waivers from the Philadelphia Eagles the previous season, starting five games with 1.5 sacks.
Babin had voided his contract with the Jaguars on March 10, a move made because both sides acknowledged the need to readdress a deal that had two years remaining with Babin earning more than $6 million in each season. The Jaguars re-signed Babin three days later.
The idea at the time was to add depth to the Leo position, as well as the entire defensive line. The Jaguars signed defensive end Chris Clemons, defensive end Red Bryant and defensive tackle Ziggy Hood all in early March.
But the signing of Babin and Clemons, and the subsequent drafting of defensive end Chris Smith from Arkansas contributed to the Jaguars having unusually high numbers at the Leo position.
Clemons has been working with the starters at the Leo position in open periods of the Jaguars' offseason off-field work, with Babin, Smith, third-year veteran Andre Branch, second-year veteran Ryan Davis and second-year veteran Gerald Rivers also working there.
Clemons, an 11-year veteran, registered double-digit sacks with the Seattle in 2010, 2011 and 2013, while Branch – who had six sacks last season – has drawn praise from Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley throughout the offseason. Bradley also made a point of mentioning both Smith and Branch after a minicamp practice Wednesday.
Babin, a first-round selection by the Houston Texans in 2004, has played with six different teams in 10 seasons, also playing for Seattle (2007-2008), Kansas City (2008), Philadelphia (2009, 2011) and Tennessee (2010). He has 62.5 career sacks, including 12.5 with Tennessee in 2010 and 18 with Philadelphia in 2011.
The Jaguars are scheduled to hold the last of their three 2014 mandatory minicamp practices at 10:40 at the Florida Blue Health and Wellness Practice Fields.
The practice is closed to the public.