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Should the Raiders add Derek Barnett?

Eagles released the defensive end on Friday and the Raiders were reportedly looking for another pass-rusher at the trade deadline.

Washington Commanders v Philadelphia Eagles
Derek Barnett
Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Per ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Philadelphia Eagles are waiving defensive end Derek Barnett, who the Las Vegas Raiders could be interested in claiming.

In the offseason, Barnett had requested a trade out of Philadelphia as he has been buried on their depth chart over the last couple of seasons. While already having Josh Sweat and Brandon Graham on the roster, the Eagles signed Haason Redick ahead of the 2022 campaign and then spent a first-round pick on Nolan Smith during last April’s draft.

So, Barnett clearly saw the writing on the wall and the organization was reportedly fielding offers for him during the trade deadline. Obviously, no deal came to fruition over the summer or before the deadline.

Meanwhile, the Raiders were reportedly looking for a pass-rusher to pair with Maxx Crosby at the end of last month. Granted, that was when Josh McDaniels and Dave Ziegler were still in the building.

But even with a new regime taking over, Las Vegas could still afford to get Crosby some help, so let’s take a look at the situation and see if it makes sense to bring the seven-year veteran to Las Vegas.

Stats

Barnett’s most productive season came in 2019 when he made 14 starts and had 6.5 sacks to go along with 10 tackles for loss. In total, he has 21.5 career sacks and 37 TFL during his seven seasons. He hasn’t been productive over the last two years, due to the reduction in playing time mentioned above and tearing an ACL in the 2022 season opener.

The 2017 first-round pick does have some good advanced numbers, too. According to Pro Football Focus, he racked up 176 pressures from 2017 to 2021 which comes out to an average of 35 per year. However, his 2017 campaign is weighing that figure down as he suffered a shoulder injury that limited him to seven games and just 17 pressures. Removing that season, the per-year figure jumps up to about 40.

PFF also credited Barnett with an 11.0 percent pass-rush win rate in 2021, the last season he received a significant amount of playing time. But that figure was just 8.9 percent during his impressive 2019 campaign, which is something significant to consider. That would suggest he was getting a little lucky rather than consistently beating offensive tackles during that season.

Barnett has earned solid grades from PFF against the run throughout his career, dipping below the baseline 60 mark only once, during his injury-shortened 2022 season. However, he’s topped out at 71.8 when recording at least 100 snaps as a run defender. That’s a good grade but not exactly game-changing for a career-best.

Age/Experience

Oakland Raiders v Philadelphia Eagles
Derek Barnett vs. Raiders 2017
Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Despite playing in the NFL for seven years, the Tennessee product is still fairly young at just 27 years old. He turns 28 in late July and is about 14 months older than Crosby despite having two more seasons of NFL experience. So, the now-former Eagle would provide some future value to the Raiders.

Raiders Current DEs/EDGEs

  • Crosby (26 years old, 5 years experience, 48 sacks, 71 TFL)
  • Malcolm Koonce (25 years old, 3 years, 4 sacks, 5 TFL)
  • Tyree Wilson (23 years old, Rookie, 1.5 sacks, 0 TFL)
  • Malik Reed (27 years old, 5 years, 16 sacks, 16 TFL)

This is where the Raiders might be hesitant to bring Barnett in. Koonce has been playing well as a pass-rusher lately and adding another defensive end would mean fewer snaps for Tyree Wilson, further impeding his development.

While Reed would likely be released to make room, Wilson needs all the reps he can get after missing so much time during the team’s spring practices and training camp. If the organization wants to make sure they get the most out of their 2023 Top 10 pick, then bringing in the veteran defensive end wouldn’t make much sense.

Contract

The Raiders would have to pick up Barnett’s current contract if they claim him on the waiver wire. However, according to Pro Football Rumors’ Sam Robinson, that figure is pretty reasonable.

“Barnett’s contract contains less than $500K in remaining base salary, which would not be much of an impediment toward a waiver claim,” Robinson wrote. “The trade deadline having passed makes all vested veterans subject to waivers. Barnett’s deal expires after this season, though passing through waivers unclaimed would lead to an early expiration.”

Las Vegas could opt to see if he goes unclaimed and then try to sign him to a new contract via free agency, but that’d be a risk as Brandon Lee Gowton of Bleeding Green Nation noted that the veteran pass-rusher has a few connections to other teams around the league.

“We’ll see if the 27-year-old Barnett draws any attention on the waiver wire or if he becomes a free agent,” Gowton said. “The Cleveland Browns have some Eagles front office connections and Jim Schwartz loves him. The New York Jets could be a landing spot to watch due to Joe Douglas. The New York Giants might also be in play with Brandon Brown there.”

Schwartz was Philadelphia’s defensive coordinator when they drafted Barnett, Douglas was the vice president of player personnel during that time, and Brown was also part of the front office that selected Barnett.


So, what say you? Should the Raiders pounce on the opportunity to add the pass-rusher or pass?

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