Eagles ‘Not Ready to Give Up’ on Former Top Pick: Report

Nick Sirianni

Getty Ex-Eagles QB Carson Wentz could find an ideal destination in the Cardinals.

There has been a growing narrative developing around Derek Barnett and his future in a Philadelphia Eagles uniform. The 14th overall pick from the 2017 NFL draft has been labeled a cut candidate coming off season-ending ACL surgery in 2022. Remember, Barnett has largely failed to live up to expectations save for the biggest fumble recovery in franchise history.

Rewind the tape and watch that highlight-reel play from Super Bowl LII with fresh eyes in 2023. The potential is there for the 26-year-old who broke Reggie White’s career sack record at the University of Tennessee. Maybe that’s why not everyone agrees that his days are numbered in Philly.

Long-time local reporter Derrick Gunn cited sources saying that the “Eagles are not ready to give up on Derek Barnett.” He doesn’t believe the book has been written on the 6-foot-3, 259-pounder with 21.5 sacks through 65 NFL games (45 starts).

“In no way, shape, or form is this team ready to give up on Derek Barnett yet,” Gunn told JAKIB Sports. “Say what you want to say about him. You can talk about the lost season, and look at the numbers they put up without him last year. You can talk about his mental mistakes from previous years. But Derek Barnett does have talent. He has the capability. I don’t think they’re ready to give up on him yet.”

The Eagles inked Barnett to a two-year contract extension worth up to $14 million last offseason. He was projected to rotate in as a starter at defensive end, along with Josh Sweat and Brandon Graham until he shattered his knee in Week 1 against Detroit. Head coach Nick Sirianni was quick to lament how big of a loss it was at the time.

“Obviously, that’s a big blow for us. I love the way Derek Barnett comes to work every single day and plays with grittiness and toughness and nasty,” Sirianni told reporters on September 12. “I am a huge Derek Barnett fan, and he’ll be missed. So that sucks. I hate that for him. I hate that for this team. And again, like I said, he’ll be missed. I can’t tell you how much I think of Derek.”

Multiple Reports Put Barnett on Chopping Block

Barnett’s demise has been pondered as far back as last offseason when he was loosely predicted to be a cut candidate ahead of NFL free agency. It didn’t happen. Now the rumors are resurfacing.

Clutch Points posed the possibility of the Eagles parting ways with Barnett following their Super Bowl loss. That was before the team drafted Jalen Carter and Nolan Smith in the first round. Guilherme Hiray Leal wrote: “If Philadelphia waives him ahead of the 2023 season, it would save about $2.6 million.”

Meanwhile, Bleacher Report’s David Kenyon listed Barnett as a surprise roster cut, then added his positive two cents: “He’s an inexpensive player at $3.1 million and, in my estimation, should be kept.”

The Eagles set a franchise record for sacks (70) in 2022 while leading the entire NFL in that department. Needless to say, Barnett’s absence due to a torn ACL didn’t stop them from getting to the quarterback. Still, it’s hard to see them cutting a former first-round pick who carries a minimal cap hit. He’ll likely make it out of training camp.

Eagles Move Preseason Game vs. Baltimore Ravens

The Eagles made a slight tweak to their 2023 schedule on May 22 by moving a preseason game back one day. The team will take on the Baltimore Ravens in their preseason opener on Saturday, August 12 instead of Friday, August 11. The team officially made the announcement on Twitter. Kickoff is now scheduled for 7 p.m. in Baltimore.

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