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The Linc: Connor Barwin would take a pay cut to stay in Philadelphia

Barwin knows money determines his future with the Eagles.

Pittsburgh Steelers v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Eagles news and notes for 1/11

Connor Barwin: ‘Yes, I would take a pay cut to stay in Philly’ - CSN Philly

Connor Barwin didn't try to talk around it on Tuesday. He wants to be back in Philadelphia next season, even if that means working out a new deal with the Eagles.

On TCN's Breakfast on Broad, Barwin was asked flatly if he'd be willing to take a pay cut to return to the Eagles next season.

"Yes, I would take a pay cut," he said. "I mean, my plan is to stay here. You know, people talk about my contract and I think, I like to think, I'm a reasonable person and I feel like I'll work with the Eagles and we'll restructure and make some kind of deal that works for everybody."

Before the end of the 2016 season, Barwin talked pretty openly about his frustrating year and his future with the team but stopped short of admitting he'd take a pay cut. With one game left to play, he said he wanted to focus on the Cowboys.

It's not hard to figure out why questions about Barwin's future keep coming up. Since his 14½-sack year in 2014, he had seven sacks in 2015 and just five in 2016 as the Eagles switched to a 4-3 defensive scheme.

Then, there's the contract. Barwin, 30, is set to have a salary cap hit of $8.35 million in 2017 and cutting him would save the Eagles $7.75 million in cap room. Plus, there's the fact that Vinny Curry, to whom the team just handed a big extension last year, played just 43 percent of defensive snaps in 2016.

Position Review: Carson Wentz Showed Franchise Quarterback Potential - Birds 24/7

Carson Wentz

Numbers: 1127 snaps, 16 games started, 7-9 record, 607 attempts, 379 completions, 62.4% completion, 16 touchdowns, 14 interceptions, 3782 yards, 6.2 yards/attempt, 79.3 rating, 150 rushing yards, 2 rushing touchdowns, 14 fumbles

Review: Wentz’s rookie season wasn’t supposed to happen. The Eagles planned to bring the No. 2 overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft along slowly while Sam Bradford handled the starting duties. That all changed, of course, when Teddy Bridgewater suffered a significant knee injury and the Vikings made a desperate trade for Bradford.

It’s important to remember the Eagles’ original plan for Wentz when putting his rookie season in context. By no means did Wentz enter the NFL as a finished product. That much was apparent in 2016.

Wentz defied expectations at first as the Eagles jumped off to a 3-0 start. He made some truly incredible throws while he racked up a number of early season awards, such as multiple NFL Rookie of the Week honors.

But the overwhelming success didn’t last for long. Wentz started to struggle as his supporting cast continued to fail him. The suspension of Lane Johnson, along with injury issues to other starting blockers, weakened Philadelphia’s offensive line. Wentz had to deal with arguably the NFL’s worst wide receiving corps. An inconsistent run game did him no favors, either.

Not all of Wentz’s struggles can be blamed on the situation around him. The 24-year-old quarterback clearly has room to improve when it comes to his mechanics and his decision-making. The team expects him to make significant strides in these areas this offseason, which marks his first full one in an NFL program. Wentz won’t have to worry about pre-draft workouts, interviews, etc. He can focus more on football and improving his game.

The NFC East is a beast for years ahead -

Anything is in play in the NFC East, where no team has been a repeat champion since the Eagles in 2004. The division is very, very good and teams like Dallas and New York and even Washington aren’t going anywhere as long as they continue to have strong play at the quarterback position, and good leadership and decision making at head coach.

The Eagles are right in the mix with Carson Wentz looking to make a significant leap from his outstanding and ultra-promising rookie campaign to his second NFL season at the quarterback position and with Doug Pederson building on some of the successes he had in his rookie year at head coach.

The point is this: The NFC East is loaded and it’s going to continue to be the NFL’s marquee division for years to come. It’s a super-competitive foursome that is reminiscent of the days when coaches like Bill Parcells and Jimmy Johnson and Joe Gibbs battled with Buddy Ryan for division supremacy. Andy Reid took the Eagles to a new level from 2000-2010, and only the Chip Kelly Eagles in 2013 have been atop the NFC East since Reid left. The Eagles have some ground to make up to catch the Cowboys and the Giants and the Redskins.

“It’s a very competitive division and that’s the way you want it,” Pederson said during the season. “We know that in order to win in the NFC East, you have to win those games. That’s the way it works in this league. That’s the path you have to take to the playoffs.”

Murphy: Weak link between playoff byes and QB draft position - Daily News

"There's a big difference between competing to make the playoffs and being a wild-card team, and getting a bye in the playoffs," Roseman said.

The big difference, he said, was a quarterback like the one they managed to acquire. Everything else - the overall record, the questionable signings, etc. - is secondary. The Eagles found their quarterback, and, in the NFL, that's what counts.

Except, 2016 was an odd year to try to make that argument. While the Eagles followed a strategy they believe will one day put them in position to be that team with the bye, the Cowboys followed a strategy that put them in position to do it this season. Yes, Dak Prescott has benefited enormously from the offensive line the Cowboys built. But that's the point. Dallas built an offensive line and a receiving corps first, then added the quarterback. Seattle built a dominant defense and a power running game, then added the quarterback. One can argue that, way back when, the Packers and Patriots added the quarterback last. In doing so, none of these teams found itself in a position where it was forced to pay through the nose to acquire its guy. That's not to say the Eagles should not have made the move they did, just that the argument that it was the only path to sustained success is bunk.

Since 2010, 20 of the 28 teams that have earned first-round byes did so with quarterbacks they acquired without sacrificing a top-15 overall draft pick.

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