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Derek Barnett wants path to playing time


Photo Credit by John McMullen/JAKIB Sports

OCR Logo Color 300DPIPHILADELPHIA – Man plans, and the football Gods laugh.

Forgive the hijacking of a rather famous Yiddish adage designed to explain the unpredictability of life but that’s the first thing that jumped to mind when the news broke that Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Derek Barnett wouldn’t mind being dealt in an effort to find more playing time in 2023.

The Eagles still like the 2017 first-round pick but the writing seems to be all the wall when it comes to playing time with Barnett serving as an insurance policy for what is the deepest edge-rushing group in the NFL.

Star pass-rusher Haason Reddick confirmed Monday he’s in line to start in Week 1 despite undergoing surgery on a torn ligament in his right thumb and he’s mirrored by a Pro Bowl-level player in Josh Sweat, who arguably was the Eagles’ defensive MVP in training camp practices.

That impressive tandem is supported by veteran stalwart Brandon Graham and rookie Nolan Smith, the 30th overall pick in April’s draft. Barnett is penciled in as No. 5 and understands reps will be limited unless there are injuries.

To that end, Smith has missed five consecutive practices with a shoulder injury so the Eagles plan seems like a sound one in theory before the human element comes into play.

Reading between the lines of the Drew Rosenhaus-fueled report, it seems like the Eagles are making Barnett available but will keep him unless a certain threshold is reached when it comes to compensation.

Barnett, who is still just 27 despite six seasons in the league, participated in Eagles practice on Monday morning at the NovaCare Complex.

Earlier this offseason, the Eagles and Rosenhaus restructured Barnett’s contract in an effort to keep him on the roster but now that a lack of playing time seems likely, at least to start the season, the Tennessee product needs a change of scenery to bolster his next contract.

If the Eagles do move Barnett that could be good news for a number of bubble players on the edge like Patrick Johnson, Kyron Johnson, and Tarron Jackson.

From a contract standpoint, a Barbett trade would save the Eagles $1.125 million in cap space.

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