Eagles release DE Connor Barwin to free up cap space

Unable to find a trade partner, the Philadelphia Eagles released defensive end Connor Barwin on Thursday, the team announced.

With the move, the Eagles free up $7.75 million in cap space.

Barwin, 30, joined the Eagles via free agency in 2013; he quickly became one of the defense's best players from the left outside linebacker spot in Bill Davis' 3-4 scheme. His best year came in 2014, when he posted 14 1/2 sacks, 64 tackles and 5 passes defensed.

The Eagles switched to a 4-3 system this past season under new defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz. Barwin not only had to make the transition from outside linebacker to defensive end, but he was asked to rush from the right side instead of the left. He had a quiet season overall by his standards, finishing with five sacks.

Barwin was a significant presence in the locker room and immersed himself in the Philadelphia community. Through his "Make the World Better" foundation, he helped build playgrounds in the city to improve the environment for children.

Barwin thanked the Eagles and their fans in an Instagram post Thursday morning:

Thank you Philadelphia from the bottom of my heart for welcoming me and for being the amazing city you are. Laura and I want to thank Jeffrey Lurie, the entire Eagles organization, and all the fans for their support. It has been an honor and a privilege to play for this historic franchise. The Make The World Better Foundation, will continue it's work to revitalize parks in the city. Our current projects at Smith Playground and Waterloo Playground are moving forward and very exciting. I hope to see many of you at our concert this year. I have learned from and cherish every experience I have had in the great city of Philadelphia and every snap I played as an Eagle. From the Lurie's, to my coaches, teammates, mtwb partners, and fellow septa riders thank you! Go Philly, Go Eagles . . . hope to see you in the playoffs!

A post shared by Connor Barwin (@connorbarwin98) on

Barwin suggested that he would consider taking a pay cut to stay in Philadelphia, but the Eagles are tight against the cap and decided they needed to move on.

"Connor Barwin is a tremendous teammate, player and an even better person," said Eagles executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman via statement. "He represented the Philadelphia Eagles with class and integrity for the past four seasons and we appreciate his efforts both on and off the field. It's rare to come across a player who invests so much of himself in the locker room, as a leader on the field, and with his relentless work ethic. His work in the community will have a lasting impact on our city that we can all be very proud of. Obviously this was a difficult decision for us, but we wish him and his family all the best. On behalf of all of us, we just wanted to say thank you and we all hope that our paths cross again in the future."