The Philadelphia Eagles are picking up Derek Barnett’s fifth-year option prior to the May 3 deadline, according to a report from PhillyVoice writer and my BGN Radio co-host Jimmy Kempski.
This news was expected. We wrote the following about Barnett back in January:
Review: Barnett missed the entire 2019 offseason as he recovered from a shoulder injury that ended his 2018 season after six games. Barnett was often listed on the injury report early in the year so he clearly wasn’t 100% even though he was playing. Barnett missed two games to injury later in the season. The 2017 first-round pick logged a career high in sacks with 6.5 but he didn’t quite make the leap to being the impact player the Eagles need him to be. Barnett ranked 60th out of 124 players in PFF’s pass rush productivity stat. He was fine but nothing spectacular.
Outlook: After seeing how not having a healthy offseason hindered Graham in 2018 and Fletcher Cox in 2019, perhaps Barnett deserves slack for not being better last year. Perhaps Barnett, who only turns 24 in June, will make a big leap in 2020. The team could really use that from him. It’s worth noting that the Eagles have a decision to make this offseason on whether they pick up Barnett’s fifth-year option. I’d be shocked if they didn’t. Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz loves Barnett. Case in point:
“Yeah, both my daughters wear Derek Barnett jerseys to the games, so that tells you how much I think of him. Derek is always a guy that plays with a chip on his shoulder. It’s one of the things that makes him successful.”
Schwartz offered this in response to a question about Barnett’s avoidable penalties. That’s an areas where Barnett definitely needs to improve. His eight penalties were tied for third most among NFL edge rushers in 2019. A number of them were just straight up dumb.
Barnett’s fifth-year option for 2021 is worth around $10 million but it is only guaranteed in the case of injury. If need be, the Eagles can get out of paying Barnett that $10 million prior to the start of the 2021 league year ... assuming he’s healthy.
Of course, the Eagles ideally won’t be moving on from Barnett in the near future. The more preferable outcome involves him developing into an impact defensive end for this team. It’d be really nice to see him step his game up.
The Eagles picking up Barnett’s fifth-year option does not preclude the two sides from working on a contract extension down the road. The guess here is they’ll let Barnett at least play out the 2020 season before making a longer commitment to him, though.