The Eagles are going to pick up the fifth-year option on defensive end Derek Barnett’s contract, a league source confirmed to NBC Sports Philadelphia.
PhillyVoice’s Jimmy Kempski first reported the Eagles’ decision.
While Barnett has been somewhat of a disappointment during his first three years in the NFL after he was taken with the No. 14 overall selection out of Tennessee, picking up his fifth-round option isn’t a surprise.
Because while the fifth-year option will come with a 2021 salary of around $10 million for Barnett, that contract doesn’t become guaranteed until the start of the 2021 league year and the Eagles can get out of it before then. It would only become guaranteed this year if he gets injured.
In 2019, Barnett played in 14 games and had a career high 6 1/2 sacks. But in three seasons, he has just 14 total sacks and has struggled to stay healthy. But the coaching staff, particularly Jim Schwartz, seems to love him.
There have been impressive flashes for Barnett, though. Before he was lost for the remainder of the 2018 season with a shoulder injury that needed surgery, he was coming on strong. And in 2019, he had three sacks in the final three weeks of the season to help the Eagles get to the playoffs. He actually led the Eagles in QB hits in 2019 with 22.
And, of course, it was Barnett who scooped up a fumble in Super Bowl LII after Brandon Graham got a strip sack on Tom Brady.
This is the third consecutive year in which the Eagles have picked up a fifth-year option: Carson Wentz for the 2018 season and Nelson Agholor for the 2019 season. Agholor played last year on his fifth-year option, which paid him $9.4 million.
The prices for fifth-year options depend on where players were drafted in the first-round of their respective drafts. For picks 1-10, their option price is an average of the top 10 salaries at their position. For picks 11-32, it’s an average of the 3rd through 25th highest-paid players at the position.
Last year, the fifth-year option price for defensive ends was $9.451 million, so expect that to be slightly higher in 2020.
There’s no guarantee Barnett will be in Philadelphia for that price in 2021 and there’s not even any guarantee he’ll be in Philadelphia, period. The option just keeps him under team control for another season.
The Eagles can try to work out a long-term deal, they can let him play on the fifth-year option or they can release him.
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