It's official: Trent Cole is no longer a member of the Philadelphia Eagles. The team confirmed the announcement on Wednesday afternoon following media reports from Tuesday evening that Cole was expected to be released.
It feels weird that Cole is gone. He was the team's longest tenured player having been selected by the team in the 2005 NFL Draft. Long snapper Jon Dorenbos now owns the honor of being the longest tenured player.
The Eagles released a statement on Cole from head coach Chip Kelly:
"We spoke with Trent and his agent and expressed a desire to have him back. We have been talking for a couple of weeks. However, at this point, we think it’s best to let him explore other options around the NFL."
Cole was due a large salary cap figure in 2015 at over $11.6 million. It was difficult to justify that figure at this point in his career. Philadelphia saves nearly $8 million by cutting the 32-year-old veteran.
The Eagles will now have to find a replacement for Cole in free agency. Fellow outside linebacker Brandon Graham is expected to test free agency. Jason Worilds of the Pittsburgh Steelers is already rumored to be a strong target.
More reactions to Cole's release:
Eagles press release quotes Chip as saying team expressed desire to have Trent Cole return. I can tell u that isn’t how Trent sees it.— Les Bowen (@LesBowen) March 4, 2015
I'd expect the Jets to be among the teams to reach out to Trent Cole now that he's a free agent. His market won't take long to form— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) March 4, 2015
The 49ers, who are trying to secure Darnell Dockett, will also be players in the market for Cole from what I hear.— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) March 4, 2015