Eagles are Keeping Veterans on the Speed Dial
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - Connor Barwin loved playing in Philadelphia and the veteran edge defender would like a second opportunity to call Lincoln Financial Field home.
And forget about leverage, Barwin isn't playing any games confirming to Heavy.com that the Eagles can have him if they want him.
“I’m trying to come back and play for the Eagles,” Barwin told the website. “I’m training right now and I’ve talked to [Eagles GM] Howie [Roseman] and they’re going to see if they need any depth on the edge."
The odds of Barwin returning to the NovaCare Complex remain long, however. Philadelphia has penciled in its top three edge defenders -- Brandon Graham, Derek Barnett and Vinny Curry -- and have a plethora of younger bodies battling for the fourth and potentially fifth spots on the roster led by back-to-back fourth-round picks the past two years -- Josh Sweat and Shareef Miller -- as well as the well-liked Joe Ostman and the lengthy Daeshon Hall, once a third-round pick in Carolina.
"I think we have a lot of depth [at defensive end]." defensive line coach Phillip Daniels said. "We have a lot of young guys fighting for positions. You have guys that were drafted for that reason, so I think we're going to be fine at defensive end."
The likelihood of Barwin getting a call from the Eagles likely hinges on the health of the top three because you normally aren't bringing in a veteran for a very limited role when there are so many younger options with upsides.
Barwin, who will turn 33 in October, is also cognizant of what is a tough numbers game for him.
"I’m going to wait until camp starts before I sign anywhere else, but obviously I’m not going to wait too long," he said. "But the Eagles know that’s where I want to be.”
In his prior four-year stint with the Eagles Barwin became one of the more popular players on the team due to his work both on and off the field. He put together a career year in 2014 with 14 1/2 sacks and a Pro Bowl appearance but that's when Chip Kelly was here and the Eagles ran a 3-4 defense with Bill Davis. Barwin is better equipped to be an OLB in the 3-4 rather than an end in a 4-3 although in the modern NFL there are far more multiple fronts.
Since being released in Philadelphia Barwin spent one year with the Los Angeles Rams and one with the New York Giants. He realizes that any role at this point would be involve limited snaps as a situational pass-rusher.
“I’m going into my 11th year and I’m ready to just be a situational player," Barwon admitted. "Howie knows. I’ll be there if one of the three guys get hurt or if something happens, or to mentor the younger guys. You know, Philly’s situation is BG, Vinny, and DB — three great guys on the edge — and I would come in to support those guys. If I don’t play in Philly, it would be the same situation somewhere else. Be the third edge guy.”
While the Eagles probably don't need veterans like Barwin and running back Darren Sproles any longer, it's a nice luxury to have veteran players on speed dial who want to play in Philadelphia.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen