Jacksonville Jaguars defensive coordinator Joe Cullen has his work cut out this offseason. He will be tasked with rebuilding a unit that ranked near the bottom in most meaningful categories and if he wants to succeed, the ‘Jags’ will have to provide him with a few talented players. While free agency is still a few weeks away, teams are starting to release players and there’s a chance the Philadelphia Eagles will move on from defensive end Derek Barnett.
Chris Trapasso of CBS Sports recently put together a list of potential cap casualties that could fill some roster holes and Barnett made the cut. He points out that the Eagles picked up the defensive end’s fifth-year option but may need to rescind it, as they are in need of cap relief.
If ‘Philly’ decides to move on from Barnett, they would free up $10 million in cap space and he would immediately become a free agent. He would then be able to sign with any team he wants. A first-round selection in 2017, he has been a good-not-great pass rusher. Back at Tennesse, he broke Reggie White’s sack record but his college success hasn’t carried over to the NFL.
Over his four-year career in the City of Brotherly Love, Barnett has logged 101 total tackles (29 for a loss), 19.5 sacks, and three forced fumbles. Although he’s never started all 16 games in a season, he will surely garner attention if he hits the open market.
Derek Barnett could thrive with the Jacksonville Jaguars in the right role.
The Jaguars need to hoard as much talent as they can this offseason and if Barnett became available, they should definitely target him. Although he isn’t a top-echelon defensive end, he could add depth and thrive in a complementary role in Jacksonville’s defensive line rotation.
Defensive end Josh Allen should be fully healthy in 2021 after dealing with a knee injury last season while K’Lavon Chaisson showed flashes of pass-rushing prowess towards the end of the year. The ‘Jags’ could also add another defensive end in the draft, so Barnett wouldn’t have to have a featured role, which in turn could maximize his impact.
Although the Jaguars have many roster wholes, they also have the means to fill most of them. As the old adage says, you can never have enough pass rusher and Barnett would be a solid addition to Jacksonville’s front four.