Brentwood Academy alum Derek Barnett is sticking with the NFL team that drafted him.
The pass rusher signed a two-year deal to stay with the Philadelphia Eagles last week, keeping him in Philly for the foreseeable future.
Per NFL Network's Mike Garafolo, he will earn a potential total of $5.5 million in year one before being likely re-evaluated for his $8.5 million 2023 salary (only $1.5 million is fully guaranteed on the deal at the moment).
If he's not quite in lockstep with the Eagles' future after this season, it's plausible he will be released and enter free agency again next spring.
Barnett, a 2017 first-round draft pick out of Tennessee, hasn't quite played up to his draft status. He's amassed 21.5 sacks in his five years in the league and tallied 95 tackles. He won a Super Bowl with Philly during his rookie season.
Last fall, Barnett only had 2 sacks and 46 tackles in 16 games, though he was getting accustomed to a new defensive scheme under first-year Phily defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon.
Eagles general manager Howie Roseman supported the decision to bring back Barnett into Philly's defensive end rotation at the NFL owners meeting this week.
“I think the perception of Derek is probably not fair with the reality," Roseman said Monday afternoon (per NBC Sports). “He’s a guy, that if you’re looking at a different team and you go, ‘A 26-year-old defensive end coming off his not-best year’ we’d probably look at that and go maybe that’s an opportunity.”
Despite the down year, Barnett has fans in the organization that drafted him.
“I think going into free agency, he probably thought a little differently about where he would be,” Roseman said. “And for us, understanding that’s where he was thinking. It got to a point where it’s a huge priority to us to have a wave defensive line that’s really good. We know we can count on him. Obviously, it’s a position we want to continue to add to. We don’t want to make a strength a weakness.”
His head coach agrees.
“Man, I love Derek Barnett,” Eagles HC Nick Sirianni said to NJ.com about he and recently re-signed Philly defensive tackle Fletcher Cox. “I love the type of player and person that he is. We just felt like they fit what we want, not only as a player but as a person and as a teammate and I’m excited to get those guys back in the roles they’re going to play this year on our team.”
As of now, Barnett will return to a pass rushing rotation that includes guys like 2022 free agent signing Haason Reddick, veteran rusher Brandon Graham, young rusher Josh Sweat and 2021 draft pick Tarron Jackson.