As proposed by Bleacher Report’s Alex Ballentine, a “hypothetical” trade scenario involving defensive end Chandler Jones sees the Eagles unload longtime defensive end Derek Barnett in exchange for Jones. Both players are currently unhappy with their situations, with Jones airing out his frustrations with head coach Josh McDaniels and general manager Dave Ziegler over social media.
Meanwhile, it was reported at the end of the preseason that Barnett is “gauging” the market for a trade due to Philadelphia’s deep personnel when it comes to pass rushers, according to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler.
Why Trade Makes Sense For Both Teams
In other words, both squads would be swapping out players who offer little value to their current teams. Ballentine argues that with Barnett entering the final year of his deal, it might be time to trade the former starter.
“Derek Barnett has been a frustrating player for them,” writes Ballentine. “The former first-round pick has a career-high of 6.5 sacks and was only able to play in one game last season due to a knee injury. ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler (h/t ESPN’s Tim McManus) reported that Barnett is gauging interest from other teams as he seeks a trade somewhere he can get more playing time. He’s in the final year of his current deal and is set to hit free agency.”
Ballentine explains why the trade not only makes sense for the Eagles, but also for the Raiders.
“With Tyree Wilson still working his way back into shape from the foot injury that cost him the offseason, there would be plenty of snaps for Barnett to try and earn a new contract,” writes Ballentine. “Jones would have the opportunity to join a true contender over the next two seasons.”
Derek Barnett Sparsely Used by Eagles as Backup
Through the first two games of the season, Barnett has seen a small role along the defensive line. He’s only appeared in 30 defensive snaps (22% of plays) to go along with two tackles, zero sacks and zero quarterback hits.
The lack of playing time isn’t surprising considering the Eagles racked up 70 sacks (third-highest in league history) without Barnett last season — he missed almost the entire year because of a torn ACL — and due to the team’s heavy depth along the defensive line, including Brandon Graham, Josh Sweat, Fletcher Cox, Jordan Davis and Jalen Carter.
It also doesn’t help that Barnett has never been a ferocious pass rusher, with his career-high being 6.5 sacks for a single season. Over his past 32 games, he’s racked up just 7.5 sacks.
On the other hand, Jones is the exact opposite — he is every bit a potent pass rusher. The 33-year-old is one of the most accomplished pass rushers in the league, having racked up one of the greatest single seasons by a defensive end with 19 sacks in 2019 with the Arizona Cardinals. He also posted 17 sacks just two seasons prior with the Cardinals in 2017.
His 112 sacks is the third-most among active players — Von Miller and Cameron Jordan are the others ahead of him — and he has two First-Team All-Pro selections in addition to being a Super Bowl champion and a member of the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 2010’s.
Jones’ salary for the 2023 season is actually just $1.5 million, with the vast majority of his pay coming from a signing bonus and a roster bonus that has already been paid out. By comparison, Barnett’s salary is $3.5 million with a cap hit of $5.5 million.
Although Jones has one year left with a base salary of $16 million with roster and workout bonuses totaling $1 million, there is an out in his contract where a team can move on from Jones in the offseason with a dead cap hit of $12.3 million.
In other words, the Eagles could acquire Jones — a far superior pass rusher to Barnett — while paying him pennies for the 2023 season.
Two things may prevent Philadelphia from making this move and that’s their loaded depth along the defensive line along with the potential commitment to Jones for the 2024 season. Because the Eagles already feature arguably the best defensive line in the league, they may see little reason to acquire Jones and the two years remaining on his deal.
If the Eagles want to stock up even further and add Jones to the mix, this trade is very logical.