Is a Barwin Reunion the Right Move?
As reported by John McMullen, Connor Barwin has expressed a desire to return to the Philadelphia Eagles where he spent four seasons from 2013 to 2016.
While the Eagles are still deciding whether they want the extra depth on the edge, Howie Roseman did have a conversation with the veteran defensive end according to Barwin.
So do they need Barwin back? Three factors in a potential decision should result in the two parties going in separate directions.
Bad fit in the 4-3 pass-rushing specialist role
Well-rounded defensive lineman is not a scarcity for the Eagles. Brandon Graham, Derek Barnett, and Vinny Curry all have shown the ability to both rush the passer and be a force against the run.
Taking the place of Chris Long as the pass-rushing specialist doesn't fit what Barwin's strengths are. He has been known more for his versatile style then being a dominating pass rusher.
While he did have 14.5 sacks in 2014, he only has reached 7+ sacks once the last four years. Last season in New York was a career low for Barwin notching just one.
Being a traditional 4-3 DE also isn't the perfect match. Barwin has spent most of his career as a 3-4 outside linebacker who is often utilized in coverage. That is not what Schwartz asks for on the edge and it is why the Eagles were OK with letting Barwin go after the 2016 season.
The Eagles need to see what they have in Josh Sweat and Shareef Miller
Adding Barwin would make second-year Josh Sweat and rookie Shareef Miller either scratched, emergency depth, or cut from the team all together.
Philadelphia went back to back years investing a fourth round pick in Sweat and Miller. Considering the investment of two mid-round picks and the upside both posses, the Eagles need to see what they have in the two youngsters before making another move.
Barwin won't want to play the waiting game
In his interview with Heavy.com, Barwin said Howie Roseman and the organization is going to see if they need DE depth. What that really means is they are going to see through the development of Sweat and Miller and then decide if they need to add another DE.
Barwin said he would wait until training camp but the Eagles can't truly evaluate both young lineman until they hit the field at the end of July.
It would make sense for Philadelphia to add Barwin if Sweat and Miller don't pan out or if an injury to Graham, Barnett, or Curry took place. However, it is clear he doesn't want to play the waiting game deep into the summer.
For a fourth defensive end that will have a smaller role in Schwartz's defense with the addition of a high-end interior pass rusher in Malik Jackson, adding Barwin isn't a necessity.
The Eagles seem comfortable right now going with the youth for that spot and if they need help in the regular season, perhaps Chris Long would consider coming out of retirement.