Coming off the major news that the Eagles have signed Washington legend Ryan Kerrigan, there’s a giant elephant in the room: what happens to Derek Barnett?
The Eagles opted to pick up his fifth year option in March, guaranteeing his $10.05 million salary in 2021, despite enormous cap issues. The team was able to wiggle themselves under the cap, currently at $4 million under, despite the option. The move was almost a no-brainer in March given the lack of depth outside of Barnett, Brandon Graham, and Josh Sweat. However, with the addition of Ryan Kerrigan, are the Eagles signaling a future move for DB? What are the options?
Barnett is yet to play a full 16 game season in his career, making fans doubt his worth of the $10.05 million hit. In 48 games, 30 starts, Barnett has 19.5 sacks, 101 tackles, 65 QB hits, and three forced fumbles. Hardly top defensive end numbers.
However he’s coming off two strong seasons despite playing limited snaps, with 12 sacks coming in just 59% of snaps played. Those numbers suggest his trajectory is pointing straight up and the addition of Kerrigan can only help Barnett stay healthy and produce. Keeping him in the rotation and keeping him fresh could prove extremely beneficial for an aging defensive line.
With Kerrigan now in the fold, the Eagles could sit back and wait to see if teams come calling for DE help if one of their own go down during camp. The team did add versatile defensive lineman Milton Williams, and EDGEs Tarron Jackson and Patrick Johnson in the draft, so they have options behind Barnett. There are a few teams that did not address their DE depth in the draft, suggesting they could be looking at trade options in the summer months.
The Texans haven’t made any headlines this offseason. None.
Wait.. they did release J.J. Watt.
The Texans’ defense is bad. They didn’t address it until the fifth round. Adding someone like Derek Barnett could help them both in short term and long term. While I’m sure the team is done trading away draft picks, they did add a few wide receivers during the draft that may lead them to making a certain very good wide receiver available.
The Falcons bolstered their already top tier offense by adding Mr. Do-It-All Kyle Pitts. However, he doesn’t play defense.
The Falcons pass rush is almost non-existent, so targeting Barnett would be smart.
There aren’t any names to look for on the roster outside of Julio Jones for a potential deal, the Falcons could offer a pick or two.
Targets: mid-round picks
The Jaguars had the second-least amount of sacks in 2020 with just 18. They did little to address that in the offseason, keeping them in the market for an upgrade on the line. Pairing Barnett with K’Lavon Chaisson could be deadly in the AFC south. The Jaguars did upgrade their corner depth, which leads me to believe they can part with one of their younger guys in a trade. (Yes, I know they just traded for a CB from Jacksonville)
Target: Tre Herndon – CB
The Panthers’ defensive line finished with 29 sacks, a hurry rate of just 8.6%, and a pressure rate of just 22.9%, all bottom half in the league. While they’re hoping for a big year two jump for Yetur Gross-Matos, they could be looking to add a veteran across from stud Brian Burns. They team did draft two wide receivers to go along with their signing of David Moore. Maybe those rookies make Moore expendable.
Target: David Moore – WR
The Vikings made the splash of the 2020 offseason trading for defensive end Yannick Ngakoue. What did that do for them? Six games of five sacks and then a trade to Baltimore for less than what they sent to Jacksonville.
The Vikings did draft a couple of edge rushers, but they are still in dire need of another. They signed Stephen Weatherly, but he’s hardly serviceable. Barnett would give them a proven rusher opposite Danielle Hunter and give them someone who knows how to recover fumbles in their home stadium.
Target: mid-round picks.
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