The Good, The Bad, The Ugly: Derek Barnett is back in Philly

PHILADELPHIA, PA – SEPTEMBER 27: Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Derek Barnett (96) looks on during the game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Philadelphia Eagles on September 27, 2020 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire)

Fresh off of giving Zach Pascal what amounts to a league-minimum deal, the team decided to double down on one of their most controversial players over the last five years, Derek Barnett.

Derek Barnett returning to the Eagles highlights some of the main issues facing the team’s front office. The need for D-Line pressure is compounded when your first-round picks aren’t producing to the level teams need them to produce.

Barnett’s return isn’t all bad for the Eagles. So let’s look at the good, the bad, and the ugly from the team’s latest “free agent signing”.

The Good

With all the issues that Barnett brings to the table: dumb penalties, a lack of sacking the QB, etc, there is a role for him on this team.

With the addition of Haason Reddick, the return of Brandon Graham, and the expected draft pick of a top D-Lineman, the Eagles will have a ton of players to rotate in and out on defense. Barnett signing only a two-year deal is a tell-tale sign that the rest of the league doesn’t see him as a viable option in any sense of the word. That means he could come cheaper than Ryan Kerrigan did last season, and will be on the field for a small chunk of plays.

With the Eagles giving an extension to Josh Sweat, Reddick being paid like a top pass rusher and a future first-round pick, there’s very little expectation that Barnett will see the field much this year barring injury. So as a 4th or 5th rotational piece, the Eagles can do a lot worse than Barnett.

The Bad

Sigh….where to begin. There’s the fact that a first-round pick taken ahead of players like T.J Watt has more penalties committed than sacks in his career.

There’s the fact the coaching staff CLEARLY doesn’t like him because of the dumb penalties he actually takes.

Bringing back a player who has a negative effect on the team’s outlook is always a head-scratcher. It’s even more so when you realize that Barnett coming back to Philly means that there wasn’t a single other franchise interested in him.

Think about that. Barnett is 25. Young pass rushers in the open market are extremely hard to find, one eventually pops up and not a single team wants him. That’s not a miss by other teams, they just don’t want to deal with the dumb penalties made by said player.

It’s bad for the player to have absolutely no free-agent market, it’s even worse if said bad player goes back to his original team.

Just bad all around.

The Ugly

The ugly side of the return of Derek Barnett has more to do with the Eagles front office than him. Yes, Barnett is a bad football player. His undisciplined style of play makes him unplayable at times, and he has little to no production since coming to the team in 2017.

Howie Roseman has done a lot of good things in the past year. The selection of DeVonta Smith and the whole 2021 draft class together. Haason Reddick’s signing was massive and they are still waiting in the weeds for other free agent players.

But his one true failing is not knowing when to cut a loss up. Barnett’s selection in 2017 was a mistake. It’s obvious. But the front office bringing him back is compounding that mistake is worse. Roseman doesn’t want to cut losses of draft picks that are clearly lost causes because that means admitting mistakes he made as GM.

Bringing back Barnett, albeit on a cheap deal, only riles up the fanbase more because it stinks of a GM unwilling to recognize his own mistakes, and an ownership that allows these mistakes to seep through the rest of the roster.

Reagor, JJAW, Barnett. Three players that the team woefully missed on, and the team seemingly refuses to part ways with.

That’s not just bad. It’s ugly…

Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire