Eagles

Roseman defends decision to bring back Derek Barnett

Eagles

PALM BEACH, Fla. — Howie Roseman knew he wasn’t going to win any popularity contests by bringing back Derek Barnett.

He did it anyway.

The Eagles last week agreed to a two-year deal to bring back their disappointing first-round pick from the 2017 draft.

“I think the perception of Derek is probably not fair with the reality," the Eagles' GM said at NFL owners meetings on Monday afternoon. “He’s a guy, that if you’re looking at a different team and you go, ‘A 26-year-old defensive end coming off his not-best year’ we’d probably look at that and go maybe that’s an opportunity.”

In this case, the opportunity came in the form of a cheaper contract. We still haven’t seen contract details from this deal, which lets us know it’s much less expensive than any contract Barnett envisioned signing before the start of free agency.

Before free agency began, some thought Barnett, despite a rough season in 2021, would still command over $10 million per season. That clearly didn’t happen.

“I think going into free agency, he probably thought a little differently about where he would be,” Roseman said. “And for us, understanding that’s where he was thinking. It got to a point where it’s a huge priority to us to have a wave defensive line that’s really good. We know we can count on him. Obviously, it’s a position we want to continue to add to. We don’t want to make a strength a weakness.”

 

Translation: We got Barnett back for pretty cheap and we won’t be relying on him like he’s a first-round pick anymore.

It makes some sense. Because while Barnett is frustrating and his career has been disappointing, he’s not a bust either. He’s at least a functional player in the NFL who actually does some things well. (Go ahead and insert your personal foul joke here.)

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If you can remove Barnett’s disappointing history with the Eagles and look at the signing in a vacuum, you can make sense of it. The problem is that in Philadelphia, we’ve all seen Barnett fail to live up to his draft status, we’ve seen him pile up 25 penalties in five seasons and we’ve seen him continually tease us with talent that never seems to turn into consistent production.

After last season, it really felt like the best thing for both sides would have just been to go their separate ways.

But according to Roseman, that’s what everyone outside the NovaCare Complex thinks about Barnett.

“The team feels a different way about him,” Roseman said. “You can go to the leaders on the team, you go around the building and ask people about Derek Barnett, you ask our players, you ask our strength coaches, you ask our position coaches, our head coach, our coordinators and they go, ‘I love Derek Barnett. I love how he plays, I love his mentality, I love his work ethic, I love his leadership.’ For us, I think we see it differently than (the way fans do).”