He went from rotational edge rusher to inactive and now to off the team.
The Eagles on Friday released one-time 1st-round pick Derek Barnett, who had just 21 ½ sacks in 73 career games and none in his last 15 games.
The team released the following statement: "The Eagles organization would like to thank Derek for his contributions to this team over the last seven seasons. As a rookie, Derek made one of the most memorable plays in our Super Bowl victory over the Patriots. He has been a great teammate who always played with high energy and effort. We wish Derek nothing but the best."
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Barnett, the 14th pick in the 2017 draft, had 5.0 sacks as a rookie and it was Barnett who recovered Tom Brady’s fumble – forced by Brandon Graham – in the closing minutes of Super Bowl LII in Minneapolis.
Barnett added 6 ½ sacks in 2019 and 5 ½ in 2020 but had just 2.0 in 2021, missed most of last year with a torn ACL and was a non-factor this year with no sacks and no quarterback hits, hurries or pressures in 99 snaps over eight games.
The Eagles really tried to get production out of Barnett as a rotational edge rusher this year. He played 14 defensive snaps per game through the Jets game, then just seven each vs. the Dolphins and Washington.
Barnett was then inactive for the Dallas game and was ruled out of the Chiefs game for personal reasons. He missed practice Wednesday and Thursday this week again for personal reasons.
Although there is no official connection between Barnett’s dwindling playing time and missing practice and a game for personal reasons and then being released, it would seem very likely.
The Eagles signed Barnett to a two-year, $14 million contract before the 2022 season and then restructured it before this season, reducing his $7.5 million base with $1.5 million guaranteed to $3.5 million fully guaranteed.
Barnett’s 21 ½ sacks are 13th-fewest in NFL history by a defensive end taken in the top half of the first round who played at least 70 games.
According to ESPN’s NFL contract specialist Field Yates, if a team were to claim Barnett they would owe him less than $500,000 for the rest of the season.
Even though he’s in his seventh season, Barnett is only 27 and doesn’t turn 28 until next June.
With Barnett gone, the remaining edge rushers on the roster are starters Haason Reddick and Josh Sweat plus Brandon Graham, rookie Nolan Smith and Patrick Johnson. Tarron Jackson, an Eagles’ 6th-round pick in 2021, is on the practice squad.
With Barnett no longer here, there are only six players remaining from the 2017 Super Bowl team – Brandon Graham, Jason Kelce, Fletcher Cox, Lane Johnson, Rick Lovato and Jake Elliott.