It’s finally happened. The Eagles have inked their first round pick from this year’s draft to a four-year deal, according to an official announcement from the team. Derek Barnett was the only Eagles rookie not to sign his deal in the days after being selected by the team, but now those worries can be cast aside, as Barnett cements his future in the City of Brotherly Love.
— Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) June 1, 2017
It’s interesting to note that the Eagles have been very active in managing their cap space in recent weeks. From restructuring the contracts of Rodney McLeod and Zach Ertz, to seeing the likes of Brent Celek and Ron Brooks take pay cuts, the Birds’ had been looking to create as much space as possible in the run up to the draft to ensure that they could sign all of their eight draft picks to rookie contracts. That trend would follow in the weeks after, with the news of McLeod’s restructure breaking earlier this week. There’s no guarantee that this was the reason behind the outside-the-box thinking for the cap strapped Eagles, but it may have played a role.
It was only two days ago that Jim Schwartz spoke glowingly of the former Tennessee pass rusher.
“Turn around and look at that 92 (mural of Hall of Fame pass rusher Reggie White), any time any one can break a record that guy has, that’s going to get your attention pretty quick,” Schwartz explained acknowledging Barnett breaking White’s all-time FBS sack record.”
“He’s good against the run, he’s good against the pass. He’s played right and played left. All those things led us to draft him. How much he can contribute, how quickly he can be ready is up to him and coaches,” says Schwartz. “We’re really excited about him. He’s given great effort in practice, we’ve pointed out his effort a couple times chasing the ball and those kinds of things. For a rookie to do that kind of stuff is pretty impressive so far.”
Barnett was a sack machine at Tennessee, recording 32 in just three seasons. 19 of those came against SEC opponents and his dominant 6’3, 259 lbs, frame only adds to the explosiveness that he could create at the next level. Now that the contract is officially signed, all eyes turn to what the explosive edge rusher can do once Jim Schwartz takes the chains off upon the start of the regular season.
Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports