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October 06, 2021

Eagles DE Derek Barnett isn't doing anything, with gifs and stuff

Eagles NFL
Eagles_Cowboys_Derek_Barnett_Week8_Kate_Frese_11022028.jpg Kate Frese/for PhillyVoice

Eagles defensive end Derek Barnett.

If you're an edge rusher in the NFL, you're going to be judged on production, and so far in 2021, Derek Barnett has next to none. 

On 169 snaps through the Philadelphia Eagles' first four games, Barnett has 13 tackles (only five solo tackles), two tackles for loss, three QB hits, and 0 sacks. He also has three penalties — one obvious unnecessary roughness penalty against the 49ers (an ugly theme throughout his career), an offsides penalty that turned a Cowboys 3rd and 8 into a 3rd and 3 (they converted it), and a roughing the quarterback penalty against the Chiefs.

The offsides penalty in Dallas prompted Nick Sirianni to utter the words, "It's always him."


Against the Chiefs on Sunday, Barnett's day looked fine (or at least not bad) in the stat sheet. He had four tackles and a QB hit on 38 snaps. We cut up video of his 38 snaps, which you can see here, if you have around four minutes to spare. Spoiler: It wasn't fine. It was bad.

Did you watch that? No? OK, fine. Here are my takeaways.

• On the first play of the game, Barnett got thrown to the ground by the LT. Second play, Travis Kelce pushes him to the ground. Third play, spin move, nothing. Fourth play, Good Lord he gets pushed all the way out almost completely past the numbers. This was a theme throughout the day. Barnett got pushed around, and he ended up on the ground far too often for any player, much less a starting DE.

• At the 1:32 mark, Barnett is unblocked and has a chance to make a play on Patrick Mahomes, but it doesn't take much for Mahomes to evade him, extend the play, and nearly connect on a TD pass.

• On the initial viewing of this game live, it appeared that Barnett got pushed into Mahomes on his roughing the quarterback call, but you can see on the coaches film that he also launched into him a bit. It wasn't like Barnett was pushed into Mahomes knees, and was like, "Oops, sorry Patrick, my bad."

• With Brandon Graham gone for the season, Josh Sweat has moved to the left side, where he doesn't appear to be as comfortable. On a rare rep back at RDE on Sunday, Sweat made the play of the day defensively for the Eagles, causing an INT as a result of a pressure on Mahomes.


• He got away with an unnecessary hold on a TE who was coming across the formation into a route toward the flat.

• Barnett has gotten the reputation for at least having a good motor, and chasing plays down from behind. That was absent on Sunday, and at times his lack of hustle was clear.


In 2020, the Eagles exercised Barnett's fifth-year option. His salary would be $10,051,000 in 2021, but it was not guaranteed until the first day of the new league year, which was in March. Before that date, the Eagles had one of three options with Barnett:

  1. Keep him at $10,051,000 for one year.
  2. Release him.
  3. Try to sign him to a contract extension.

Obviously, they chose option No. 1. Based on Barnett's play so far in 2021, that is looking like a mistake. It is also worth noting that the Eagles took $9,061,000 of Barnett's salary in 2021 and converted it into a signing bonus, lowering his cap number in 2021 from $10,051,000 to $2,802,200, but kicking the can down the road on $7,248,800 that will count toward the cap in the future. They also likely stripped away any possible trade opportunities for Barnett, in the event some other team lost edge rushers to injury and became desperate for help.

Looking forward, if Barnett continues to play anywhere near the level he has played so far in 2021, it should be a no-brainer for the Eagles to move on from him in 2022.

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