Should the Falcons look to trade for Derek Barnett?

NFL: SEP 11 Eagles at Lions

According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, the Eagles have granted defensive end Derek Barnett permission to seek a trade partner, as he aims for a more prominent role as a pass rusher.

Barnett hasn’t quite lived up to the expectations that came with his 14th overall draft status back in 2017, but he’s been a more than reliable defensive end that started 39 games from 2019-2021 and racked up 14 sacks.

The former Tennessee Volunteer is coming off a torn ACL in 2022 after signing a two-year extension to stay in Philadelphia. Combine the injury with the number of pass rushers the Eagles currently have rostered, and it’s easy to see why he may not be thrilled with his potential role heading into the 2023 campaign.

The Falcons significantly bolstered their defensive line this offseason, signing Calais Campbell and David Onyemata. It’s by far the best group surrounding Grady Jarrett since he was drafted in 2015 and is poised to be one of the better units in the league. However, the edge position still leaves a lot to be desired.

Lorenzo Carter is a decent veteran who would be fine in any rotation, but he’s far from a sack specialist. The Falcons also have a couple of young players from their 2022 draft class who are expected to be much better in their second seasons, and they hope Bud Dupree can turn back the clock a few years as he hopes to land a more lucrative contract next offseason. There is reason for optimism, but it could use some more depth. Adding a proven veteran like Barnett who is hungry for another contract himself could be a worthwhile addition.

Derek Barnett is entering the final year of his deal and is set to make $3.5 million this season. The Falcons have plenty of cap room to facilitate such a deal and make other moves, like patching up the depth behind their starting offensive line. Barnett also shouldn’t cost much in terms of draft capital, likely requiring a late-round pick in return.

Given the amount of problems the Falcons have had with their pass rush over the last decade-plus, this feels like something that could interest Terry Fontenot, who has remained true to his promise that he would address the defensive line this offseason. Perhaps he’ll make one last addition to the group ahead of Week 1.

Photo: Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire

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