The 2012 defensive tackle group is no more.

The Philadelphia Eagles announced Monday that they have released DTs Cullen Jenkins and Mike Paterson. Jenkins, signed by the team in the 2011 frenzy, was forced to restructured his deal last offseason.“I had a chance to speak with Cullen today and let him know of our decision,” noted Howie Roseman, the Eagles’ young GM.

“It’s one of the most difficult parts of the job. He has been a very productive player in this league for a long time but we felt it in our team’s best interests that we go in a different directionn. By releasing him at this point, it gives he and his agent more time to sign on with another team. We wish Cullen and his family all the best as he continues his NFL career.”

Over two seasons with the Eagles, Jenkins started every game. He accumulated 9.5 quarterback sacks, 54 total tackles, and two fumble recoveries. At 6-2, 305 lbs, Jenkins aged to 32 last month. Reportedly, he was owed around $.5 million in 2013.

Patterson had stood as the longest-tenured payer on the team. He was selected in the first round of the 2005 draft out of USC. In eight seasons, Patterson earned USA Today All-Joe Team honors twice in his time as an Eagle.

Roseman explained, “Mike Patterson is one of the toughest players I have ever been around in the National Football League. He has overcome many obstacles throughout his career and I have the upmost respect for him because of it. Coach Kelly and I each had a great conversations today with him. He is a class act. He gave this organization eight great seasons of hard work and dedication and we wish him all the best as he continues his career in this league.”

After the release, only two players standing from a failed 2011 free agency heist. Evan Mathis and Nnamdi Asomugha remain, although Asomugha’s status is up in the air. The Eagles are nearly through their early-spring cleaning. Come September, speculators will see how thorough a job they have done.

Like many analysts, Roseman feels the defensive tackle position boasts promise for the future: “For us, up front, obviously you talk about guys like Fletcher Cox, young guys like Cedric Thornton. Guys who worked really hard and have a chance to be really good players.”

The Eagles will need every ounce of talent available to operate with the new 3-4 scheme. Only time will tell if Thornton and Cox can fuel an ignition of defensive tackle dominance.

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