There is no shortage of trade rumors this time of year and one name getting a ton of buzz right now is Derek Barnett. The former first-round pick out of Tennessee has largely disappointed during his six seasons in a Philadelphia Eagles’ uniform, prompting some critics to place the dreaded bust label on him.
To be fair, Barnett has been slowed by injuries to start his career including an unfortunate torn ACL that cost him almost the entire 2022 campaign. The 26-year-old defensive end has been putting in the recovery work this offseason as he attempts to rehab and possibly reclaim his one-time starting role.
More likely, Barnett will be relegated to situational pass-rushing duties behind Brandon Graham and Josh Sweat, with rookie Nolan Smith and Pro Bowler Haason Reddick expected to eat up a majority of the pass-rushing snaps.
Barnett, with 21.5 career sacks, could be on the outside looking in. Which begs the question: would the Eagles consider trading the 14th overall pick from the 2017 draft? He carries a cheap cap hit ($3.1 million) and his annual salary ($1.08 million) would be easy to move.
That’s why Jimmy Kempski of Philly Voice thinks Barnett could be an attractive player to send packing ahead of training camp:
The Eagles have four edge rushers ahead of Barnett in Haason Reddick, Josh Sweat, Brandon Graham, and Nolan Smith. Barnett has a base salary of $1,080,000, so he’d be a cheap player for any new team to acquire. So, sure, if he eventually passes a physical and shows that he is healthy in the preseason, I could see him getting dealt for some small return.
Eagles Not Ready to Give Up on Derek Barnett
Trade rumors are fun for sports talk radio and basement bloggers, but don’t ever take them as fact. Barnett remains well-liked among his teammates, especially mentor Brandon Graham, and there is a feeling that the Eagles aren’t ready to give up on him.
Long-time reporter Derrick Gunn cited sources saying they are “not ready to give up on Derek Barnett.” Gunn went on to compare Barnett’s career timeline, in terms of the slow development and patience within the organization, to Jordan Mailata and Brandon Graham.
“The Eagles are very good at holding onto players who we’re screaming foul on,” Gunn told JAKIB Sports. “Brandon Graham is the best example, in terms of look at how he turned his career around. Jordan Mailata, you think, what the heck did you waste a seventh-round pick on him for? And look at Jordan Mailata now and where he’s at in his career. People consider him one of the best left tackles in the game.”
Gunn continued: “So, the Eagles have a lot of patience with certain players and Derek Barnett is still here for a reason. And they refuse to give up on him. They believe Derek Barnett has the potential to improve and be a better player for this organization, but this is a do-or-die year for Derek Barnett.”
Rookie Nolan Smith Signs Rookie Contract
Eagles rookie Nolan Smith officially inked a four-year deal that keeps him in Philadelphia through 2026, with a fifth-year option for 2027. The latter must be executed during the 2026 offseason for Smith to avoid free agency.
Financials for first-round picks are pretty standard. NBC Sports Philadelphia broke down the expected base salaries and cap figures for Smith over the next four years:
2023: $750,000 / $2,180,438
2024: $1,295,110 / $2,725,548
2025: $1,840,220 / $3,270,658
2026: $2,385,330 / $3,815,768