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Connor Barwin says he’s “trying to come back and play for the Eagles”

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Old friend returning to Philly?

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

Former Eagles edge rusher Connor Barwin wants to return to Philadelphia. Barwin said as much in a recent interview with Heavy.com:

“I’m trying to come back and play for the Eagles. I’m training right now and I’ve talked to [Eagles GM] Howie [Roseman] and they’re going to see if they need any depth on the edge and so I’m going to wait until camp starts before I sign anywhere else, but obviously I’m not going to wait too long. But the Eagles know that’s where I want to be.”

Interesting.

Barwin last played for the Eagles in 2016. He was released as a cap casualty in March 2017. Barwin then spent a season with the Los Angeles Rams before signing with the New York Giants in 2018. The G-Men cut Barwin earlier this offseason and he’s been a free agent ever since.

So, does bringing Barwin back to Philly make sense? One could make the case for it. For starters, he’s a great veteran presence to have in the locker room. The Eagles also have a need for more defensive end depth. Brandon Graham, Derek Barnett (didn’t practice in the spring), and Vinny Curry are the only established edge rushers on the roster. Young guys like Josh Sweat, Shareef Miller, Joe Ostman, and Daeshon Hall offer potential but they’re hardly proven commodities. Should one of Graham, Barnett, or Curry get hurt ... will the Eagles really be able to withstand that injury?

On the other hand, Barwin isn’t necessarily a better choice just because he has more NFL experience than the Eagles’ young guys. Barwin, who turns 33 in October, has been on the decline ever since his 14.5 sack season in 2014. His season sack totals since that year: seven, five, five, and one. Barwin ranked 101st out of 109 edge rushers in PFF’s pressure rate in 2018.

Having Barwin back on the Eagles would be cool in the sense that he’s an easy guy to root for. He’s obviously done great work off the field with his Make The World Better Foundation.

I don’t think re-signing Barwin makes a lot of sense from an on-field perspective, though. He demonstrated that he wasn’t a good fit as a 4-3 defensive end in Jim Schwartz’s scheme back in 2016. Barwin is better suited to play 3-4 outside linebacker.

The Eagles should let their young defensive ends battle it out for playing time instead of shoehorning Barwin into the pass rush rotation.

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