The Philadelphia Eagles have acquired running back and returner Kenjon Barner from the Carolina Panthers, the team announced late on Tuesday evening. Philadelphia gave up a conditional 7th round draft pick in 2015 in the exchange.
It's no secret that Barner, 25, played his college football at Oregon, where Eagles head coach Chip Kelly used to coach. In four years with the Oregon Ducks, Barner played 49 games and ran for 3623 yards on 582 attempts for an average of 6.2 yards per carry. Barner scored a whopping 41 rushing touchdowns at Oregon, including 21 in his senior year (2012). Barner made contributions on special teams as well. As a kick returner, he recorded 1371 yards on 61 attempts (22.5 average) and one touchdown. He also returned 26 punts for 263 yards (10.1 average) and one touchdown. Barner also ran track and field at Oregon.
Barner was drafted in the 6th round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the Carolina Panthers with the 182nd overall pick. Barner only played in 8 games as a rookie. He recorded a mere 7 yards on 6 attempts (1.2 average) along with 2 receptions for 7 yards. Barner managed to fumble once in those limited touches. Barner didn't do any better as a returner. On two kickoff returns he gained a total of 17 yards, which is obviously very bad.
Chip Kelly on the Barner acquisition
Kenjon will hopefully bring some depth to both our running back and return positions. He’s obviously a guy I know really well from Oregon, where he had a very productive career. He has a lot of speed, explosiveness and had a knack for making some really big plays. But our plan with him right now is get him in Philadelphia as soon as we can and plug him in at running back and returner and let him compete."
Panthers blog reaction (via Cat Scratch Reader)
Lets face it: Barner would have been cut before the final 53, so getting something for him was pretty shrewd. He'd done nothing to show he had a future with the Carolina Panthers, and now he has a chance to operate in an offense more befitting his style under former college coach Chip Kelly. It's a win-win situation for Barner and the Panthers, now we wait to see if it will pay dividends for the Eagles.