Eagles Acquire DE Barnes, Who Gets Cut?
By Lance Epstein
Just hours before the 6 p.m. (est) roster deadline, the Philadelphia Eagles and GM Howie Roseman made their third trade in the past six days. This time the Eagles sent an undisclosed 2011 draft pick to the Ravens in exchange for defensive end/linebacker Antwan Barnes.
Barnes (6-1, 251) was a fourth round selection by the Ravens in 2007. During his three-year career with Baltimore, Barnes was primarily used as a linebacker, but he knows how to play with his hand down since he played defensive end at Florida International University.
As a linebacker in the Ravens’ 3-4 defense, he registered 20 tackles, five sacks, one interception and one forced fumbled in just 38 games played. His best season of his career came in 2009, as he saw more playing time and finished the season with 13 tackles, three sacks and an interception.
While Barnes, 25, is not well known to many (if any) Eagles fans, the Eagles decided to bring him in to be the club's "joker" defensive end. By playing linebacker, he already has the experience of dropping back into coverage and since he was a defensive end he knows how to get to the quarterback. Both of these qualities are needed to play the Eagles’ “joker” DE position. Additionally, Barnes will help the Eagles special teams kickoff coverage since he has recorded 24 career special teams tackles.
Without a doubt, many fans and even experts will overlook this trade. Nevertheless, an AFC scout told ESPN's NFC East beat writer Matt Mosley that got a good fit for their defense. The scout said, "...He (Barnes) is an explosive player who will be a good fit for the Eagles' "up the field scheme." He played outside linebacker for the Ravens, but he'll play defensive end for the Eagles. Look for him to immediately be a part of the rotation."
With the addition of Barnes, it means someone who was on the 53-man roster just lost his spot. The question becomes, which player is it?
Before the trade, it the likely scenario at defensive end was Trent Cole, Brandon Graham, Juqua Parker, Daniel Te'o-Nesheim and Darryl Tapp. However, Tapp has been one of the biggest disappointments in camp and throughout the preseason. He did not record a single sack against second and even third-string offensive lineman. More importantly, those backup players engulfed him at the line of scrimmage. In addition, Tapp is making more money than everyone not named Cole at defensive end, but is giving the least amount of production. He seems to be the likely candidate to be searching the help wanted ads on Saturday night.
Of course, the Eagles could carry six defensive ends and drop a player from another position. Yesterday, in our projection of the 53-man roster, LB Jamar Chaney and DT Jeff Owens made the squad. Now with the acquisition of Barnes, one of the two players might be heading to the Eagles practice squad. The Eagles are high on both Owens and Chaney, but if you had to guess, they would probably cut Owens. A rationale being that Owens is not a great special teams player and due to the depth that the Eagles have at defensive tackle with Mike Patterson, Brodrick Bunkley, Antonio Dixon and Trevor Laws
After trading for Barnes, the Eagles roster stands at 66 players. In just four hours, the final opening day, 53-man roster will come out and there might be some major surprises in store for Eagles fans.
Check out our updated 53-man roster projections: