Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE
The Eagles released DT Cullen Jenkins on Monday, 2 years after he was a part of the so called "Dream Team" free agent class of 2011. He joined Mike Missanelli on 97.5 The Fanatic the day the news broke to talk about his short time here.
"It was rough," said Jenkins. "It was definitely a couple of the hardest years I've had in my career. Just so much expectations coming into a team that had such a great tradition and bringing in so many good players and people who they thought or were expected to perform and do well, and we weren't able to accomplish anything. So it was definitely a disappointing two years."
As for what specifically went wrong? Jenkins says the team just never came together.
"We didn't jell together enough. You can't just always bring in a bunch of superstars - people who think they're superstars. You gotta have players that just know their role and go along with that and just do whatever they can to help the team. We just didn't jell the way that we needed to jell to be a successful team."
He's absolutely right, but I think his point about "people who think they're superstars" is really the most important. That's one of the big misnomers about that Eagles free agent haul of 2011. It wasn't a bunch of superstars. Other than Nnamdi Asomugha, who at the time was a legit superstar, they were name players but not major contributors.
Ronnie Brown was a name, but hadn't been a notable player for a couple of years. Vince Young is obviously a famous name but hadn't even been a full time starting quarterback since 2007. Cullen Jenkins was a very good player, but had never even made a Pro Bowl. Jason Babin had exactly one year with more than 5 sacks. Steve Smith certainly looked to be on his way to stardom, but had suffered a major knee injury that required microfracture surgery in December of the year prior.
Hopefully it's a lesson learned. Signing free agents isn't a bad thing, but when you do it you have to get the right guys and you can't build a team there.