The four-time Pro Bowler remains unsigned after his contract with the Vikings expired in January.
However, he’s been training this offseason under the expectation that he’ll be on an NFL roster come training camp next week — and he’s garnering interest with a familiar NFC rival.
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‘Keep an Eye on the Dallas Cowboys’
Appearing on the SKOR North podcast on July 20, KSTP reporter Darren Wolfson reported that Barr is garnering interest from a pair of NFC East teams, the Washington Commanders, and most notably, the Dallas Cowboys.
“[Barr has] been training as if he will be in some team’s training camp,” Wolfson said. “I texted you many weeks ago saying keep an eye on the Dallas Cowboys. So I know the Cowboys certainly are interested in Anthony Barr. Washington has also kicked the tires, but right now, I would say keep an eye on the Dallas Cowboys.”
Barr wouldn’t be the first Vikings star to bolt for the Cowboys. After a mass exodus following Kirk Cousins’ two-year contract extension in 2020, Everson Griffen was released and eventually signed with Dallas.
However, the delay in Barr’s free agency could be a knee injury he was ailing with for most of the 2021 season. Barr was sidelined for the first four games of the season and missed another two games with knee injuries, but he proved productive in 11 games, tallying 72 combined tackles, 2.5 sacks, three interceptions and two fumble recoveries.
Barr missed all but two games of the 2020 season after suffering a torn pectoral muscle in Week 2 that season.
If Barr signs with the Cowboys or Commanders, a reunion would be slated this season in either Week 9 in Washington or Week 11, when Dallas visits the Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium.
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Barr Could Push Bidding War in Free Agency
While Barr’s injuries are of concern, he’s still a unique weapon on a defense that could employ him as a pass-rusher.
Cowboys team reporter Nick Eatman wrote that Barr is “still on the table” for Dallas earlier this month, but would prefer the veteran in a rotational, leadership role.
“I get the sense Anthony Barr is still on the table, but I see him more as a pass-rusher,” Eatman wrote on July 4, 2022. “And after the offseason we’ve seen from Sam Williams, I think the Cowboys will continue to see what he’s got in training camp. Nothing is off limits right now and linebacker depth is still rather thin. But the last thing they want is to get a progress-stopper and someone that might prevent a young player from developing. I don’t see this as a major issue right now, but something to monitor for sure.”
OverTheCap’s Jason Fitzgerald estimated Barr to garner a contract worth $5 million a year in free agency, per Pioneer Press reporter Chris Tomasson, however, with Barr remaining unsigned he could lower his asking price and push for more offers.
Whether Barr would return to Minnesota remains to be seen. He was considered one of the most loyal players to Mike Zimmer, turning down a deal with the New York Jets at the 11th hour to stay with the Vikings in 2019.
After Barr led the Vikings defense with 11 tackles in Minnesota’s 31-17 season finale victory over the Chicago Bears, Zimmer was choked up in his postgame press conference, lauding Barr for his presence both in and outside the locker room.
“Barr is a terrific person. He’s a really good person,” Zimmer said. He’s extremely smart. He’s a guy that I respect an awful lot.”
Barr is also close with Eric Kendricks and has worked out with him during the offseason.