Not many Eagles fans, including myself, expected the front office to retain defensive end Derek Barnett this offseason. After another lack luster year as a starter, Barnett tested the open market as an unrestricted free agent. Apparently, the market was not very kind to the former first-round pick and he opted to stay with the team that drafted him, inking a new two-year deal.
It felt like a fresh start was best for both parties here. Barnett is still only 25 years old and doesn’t have the best reputation in Philadelphia, never truly living up to his first-round expectations. The Eagles have three first-round picks they can use to find a suitable replacement and they signed Haason Reddick on the first day of free agency.
Although moving on from one another felt like a foregone conclusion this offseason, this resigning also feels like it’s right up Howie Roseman’s ally.
First, it’s safe to assume Barnett’s new two-year deal will be a relatively team-friendly contract. No details from the contract have been released yet, which typically means it’s not a big-money contract. If Barnett’s agent wanted the numbers to be public, they would be, as NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Reuben Frank points out here.
The Eagles paid Barnett approximately $10 million last season by picking up his fifth-year option. There’s no shot Howie is giving him that much money this time around. I’d imagine the yearly salary will be around $2-$4 million. As the fourth pass rusher behind Josh Sweat, Reddick, and Brandon Graham, that’s pretty reasonable.
Second, one of the premiere edge rushers falling to 15 in the upcoming draft is not a guarantee. With David Ojabo’s torn Achilles, the run on pass rushers within the top-15 could be even stronger. Aidan Hutchinson and Kayvon Thibodeux will definitely be gone within the first seven picks, leaving George Karlaftis, Travon Walker, and Jermaine Johnson as the top guys remaining. Maybe one of them falls to 15, but Howie may have to trade up to get the guy he wants.
You can never have enough solid pass rushers in today’s NFL, and this Barnett resigning ensures the Eagles have at least four players they can rely on at that position. Sure, he’s not a game changer and he’s not a Pro Bowl talent, but the Eagles already have two budding stars in Reddick and Sweat. As long as Barnett can provide solid snaps in passing situations, he’s a great rotational end to have.
As long as this contract doesn’t break the bank — which is most likely doesn’t — this is a solid signing for the Eagles.