UPDATE: Per Mike Garafolo, if Barnett plays every game for the 2022 season, his salary will be $5.5 million. For the 2023 season, the defensive end will make $8.5 million; however, only $1.5 million is guaranteed.
The Philadelphia Eagles are bringing back defensive end Derek Barnett — not for one-year, but two. Last Thursday, the team came to terms with the free agent in a surprising move.
Barnett, who fans thought the Eagles were going to move on from, signed him to a four-year contract worth $12.85 million, with a $7.48 million signing bonus in 2017. His new contract numbers have not been made available yet.
As teams across the NFL prepare for more offseason moves, what does Barnett’s presence mean for the Eagles?
Barnett was a first-round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. Though his gameplay hasn’t been pristine, he was selected as such for a reason. Coming out of Tennessee, he was ranked the third-best defensive end by Pro Football Focus and the fourth-best by ESPN. Whether he’s lived up to this is another story.
The edge rusher is a premium position and the Eagles certainly need to be seeking a veteran here. Barnett adds experience. He has been with Philadelphia over the last five seasons and he is still only 25 years old — another advantage as the Eagles look to create a youth movement.
Barnett has decent pressure and his number of quarterback hits is commendable. Since 2017, he’s totaled 76.
The defensive end has played in 64 games, starting in 45 of them and he’s only accumulated 21.5 sacks in five seasons. In 2021, Barnett had a total of two.
He’s also suffered his fair share of injuries already, missing a total of 15 games between 2018 and 2020.
Penalties. Barnett led the team with eight penalties during the 2021 season, losing a total of 62 yards.
Despite the battle, Barnett will return for another two seasons. The Eagles now have four rotational options at defensive end, including Barnett, Brandon Graham, Josh Sweat, and Tarron Jackson. Philadelphia can also add hybrid SAM/edge rusher Haason Reddick. Reddick, a New Jersey native was signed to a three-year deal on March 14.
Though the Eagles were looking at Michigan’s David Ojabo, he tore his Achilles’ at his pro day, ultimately leaving Philadelphia with one less option. With their first pick not until No. 15, signing with Barnett gives the Eagles some leeway if the selections don’t pan out as they originally thought.