This isn’t about sentiment. This is about finding a player who can still contribute.
I don’t know what Connor Barwin has left in the tank, but he’s worth the investigation for the Eagles.
Barwin wants to return to the Eagles, recently telling a web site, Heavy.com, “I'm trying to come back and play for the Eagles. I'm training right now and I've talked to (Eagles general manager) Howie (Roseman) and they're going to see if they need any depth on the edge and so I'm going to wait until camp starts before I sign anywhere else, but obviously I'm not going to wait too long. But the Eagles know that's where I want to be."
Barwin will turn 33 in October and he had a most unproductive year as an edge rusher with the Giants in 2018, starting three of 15 games and registering only one sack and four quarterback hits in 277 defensive snaps.
Still, he was a strong locker room presence during his four seasons in Philly, from 2013-2106, and he is one of the sport’s good guys, raised millions through his Make the World Better foundation while playing for the Eagles from 2013-16 and helped refurbished several playgrounds in the city.
This is about football, though, and Barwin, in my opinion, is worth brining on board.
Even if he plays 10-15 snaps per game, a role he said would be fine in, his mentorship to such young players as rookie Shareef Miller, second-year man Josh Sweat, and former undrafted free agent Joe Ostman would be invaluable.
Obviously, Barwin’s presence could cut into some of the snaps Miller, Sweat, and Ostman, and he may ultimately lead to the Eagles cutting Ostman or placing Miller on Sweat on Injured Reserve with some sort of “nagging hamstring,” but the way defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz likes to rotate his defensive front, the dent in the young players’ time wouldn’t be as great as some may think.
Barwin could fill that veteran role the now-retired Chris Long filled.
Right now, the Eagles have three proven players on the edge in Brandon Graham, Derek Barnett, and Vinny Curry. None of them have posted a double-digit sack season. Barwin has had two, granted the most recent one came in 2014 when he had a career-high 14.5 with the Eagles.
To me, it makes sense to at least bring him in for training camp and see what he’s got left.
Barwin said he might wait a week into training camp before deciding what his future holds. He believes there will be offers but he his top choice is the Eagles.
"I would love for it to be in Philly," Barwin said. "Me and Howie are talking. I might wait a week into camp, but that's about as far as I'm going to wait. Other teams are going to be like, 'You better sign now or we're going to sign someone else.' If not, I'll try to go to another contender. I would love for it to be in a good situation where I can contribute.
"It would be great to be part of the Eagles because I think they are going to be good," Barwin said. "I mean you never know from year to year, but obviously for me they are high on my list because then I wouldn't have to move, and they won the Super Bowl two years ago and were within one win of an NFC Championship last year. A lot of that core is still there."