It almost seems like a no-brainer— outside linebacker and pass-rusher veteran Connor Barwin is somewhat lost in the 4-3 base package of defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz in Philadelphia. Barwin is at his best in a 3-4 alignment such as the Ravens employ.
Barwin may be on his way out of Philadelphia, via release or trade, and The Star-Ledger reported the Ravens are one of three potential trade partners.
Sarah Ellison of the Ravens’ media staff reports:
“Barwin, 30, is no longer a good fit in Philadelphia after the defense switched to a 4-3 scheme last year and forced him to play as a hand-in-the-dirt defensive end. In that role, he totaled just 34 tackles, five sacks, two pass deflections and a forced fumble. He had the third-worst Pro Football Focus grade for edge rushers in 2016.
“That’s a big decline from when he was in his more natural outside linebacker position in a 3-4 defense. In his previous three years with the Eagles in that role, Barwin amassed 244 total tackles, 26.5 sacks, 34.5 tackles for loss and four forced fumbles.”
“If they cut him, teams will be lining up for him,” a pro personnel man with another NFC team told The Ledger’s Mark Eckel. “He wouldn’t be out of a job for long. I would think they could trade him and get something back. He has value. His deal this year isn’t that bad.”
Added Eckel: “Among the teams who could have interest in Barwin are the Green Bay Packers, the Baltimore Ravens and the Indianapolis Colts to name just three.”
The Ravens have not publicly expressed interest in Barwin, which is no surprise because he’s still currently under contract for the next two seasons. If they did make a trade, they would either pick up Barwin’s remaining base salaries in his contract – $7.75 million in 2017 and $9.25 million in 2018 – or condition a trade on striking a new contract. As for what they’d give up in return, Yahoo! Sports’ Robert Molnar says the most the Eagles could probably get for Barwin is a late day three draft pick.
Personally I think Barwin would be a great fit for the Ravens defense. He’s also a high-character guy who routinely gives back to the community. When back in the right system fit, Barwin could add that extra punch to the pass rush which the Ravens have been missing for the past two seasons. He’s also a good edge container and more than decent in short-to-intermediate pass coverage.