The NFL has always been a business first. While it is built around the sport of football, the business side has always operated like your typical wall street company. Winning is only everything as long as your making a profit. With this philosophy, there is no room for sentimental options when it comes to cutting your employees due to poor performance.
Unfortunately for Connor Barwin, this likely means that he will not be returning to the Philadelphia Eagles locker room next season. Being an extremely talented 3-4 outside linebacker, Barwin has been an extremely productive force for the Eagles defense in the past. During his second year in Philly, Barwin recorded a career high 14.5 sacks and was the team’s biggest and baddest pass rusher.
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However, with the Eagles switch this past season to a 4-3 defense — something they are likely to keep intact going forward — Barwin’s production dropped. He recorded his lowest tackle total since his rookie season back in 2009. Having to play as a defensive end, Barwin was also a non-factor in the pass defense, something he did well during his days as an outside linebacker.
Despite wishing to return to Philadelphia next season on a reduced deal, he will need to take a major pay cut to return to the Eagles. Right now, Barwin is a passing down defensive end. He doesn’t have the speed to play as a linebacker in a 4-3 defense, making his use solely as a pass rushing defensive end. Scheduled to make $17 million over the next two years, Barwin is worth nowhere near that.
Having a much smaller dead cap hit of just $600k next season, Barwin’s days in Philly are almost certainly at there end. Unless Barwin would be willing to take less than half of his current contract for the next two years, he is a deadweight player for this team. Thanks to the Eagles limited cap space, this is a player the team cannot retain.
It is impossible that Barwin returns, no, not by a long shot. If the will is there from Barwin to continue playing for Philadelphia, he could return on a team friendly deal. However, unless Barwin is willing to not just take a simple pay cut but a major one, his days with the Philadelphia Eagles could be all but over.