June 7, 2021   6 MIN READ

Inside The Birds: Derek Barnett “Major Wild Card” In 2021


OTAs are officially over for the Eagles in 2021, but there’s still much to be sorted out before the season kicks off in September.

On the latest Inside The Birds podcast, Geoff Mosher and Adam Caplan discuss the Julio Jones trade, last week’s Eagles press conferences and the future of the Eagles’ defensive line.

Derek Barnett, left, can earn an extension with a solid 2021 season.

Julio Jones

Adam Caplan: “Tennessee, just for the record, was the favorite all along. I talked to a team that was involved in the talks on Tuesday and they said that the information that they were getting was that Atlanta had not received anything more or less than they had two weeks before that. You look at what they got, first of all, they didn’t get the first-round pick. We told you that was not going to happen. What they were hoping was that maybe they could get a first round pick, and have to give up the Julio Jones and maybe late round pick, that was not happening. They just took what they could get and unfortunately because they traded with the Titans, they won the division last year and they’ve been in the playoffs three of the last four years, it’s probably going to be a late second-round pick, that’s the best they can get.”

Geoff Mosher: “A future fourth also, but it wasn’t even a fourth in 2022, it’s 2023.”

Joe Ostman

Caplan: “When we put this out six weeks ago, our understanding was that Ostman was moving to linebacker, this was before they signed Kerrigan though. So because they’re not having 11 on 11 and 7 on 7, we really don’t know 100% for sure where Ostman is gonna line up. My understanding was they liked him as a joker, they’d like him to be able to stand up.”

Ryan Kerrigan

Caplan: “They have Kerrigan, he’s stood up most of his career, which I didn’t know until I asked a couple teams in free agency. I always thought he was a D-end that would later play linebacker. It’s the exact opposite, like 75-80 percent of his career he has been a stand up linebacker. But look, they’re not super deep at D-end, they really needed Kerrigan though as not only the fourth end but to give them experience and plus if somebody gets hurt. Josh Sweat, as we’ve said from Day 1, cannot play at full snaps. You can’t play him 50 snaps. Again, that’s not gonna work, or if [Derek] Barnett, or [Brandon] Graham were to suffer an injury. But you got Kerrigan here, what a great sign. I’m really surprised he signed here with this contract – boy, did he get a light deal. Only $2.5 million fully guaranteed, upside of $3.5 million. I’m surprised he didn’t wait till like July or August, I kind of think he could have gotten a better deal on this. Why do I have this feeling he is gonna have a bigger role than we imagined?”

Mosher: “Well with the injuries and the aging, obviously on the whole defensive line, Brandon Graham’s getting up there, Fletcher Cox’s getting up there, you can see there being a role. I wonder if this coaching staff wants to get defensive ends in the middle so you can have your best pass rushers up the middle. They have a plethora of options and how it plays out will be fascinating”

DE Future

Caplan: “Graham is an older player, he’s signed through 2022. Barnett is on his fifth year option, Sweat is on his final season, Kerrigan is on a one-year deal. I’m sure some of these guys will be back, but Kerrigan theoretically could not be back and same for Barnett, Graham’s an older player, Sweat you know can’t play a ton of snaps so there’s some questions past this season of what this D-end group is going to look like.”

Mosher: “No doubt about it, and Derek Barnett is such a huge wild card. I mean if he has a really good season and he can get an extension, at least you’d feel somewhat confident with him at one end, but I agree with you that: is Brandon Graham gonna be back again in 2022? He is signed through 2022 but you don’t know if he’ll be back and healthy and still Brandon Graham. I mean obviously it’s a position they draft a lot, you’d have to think next year’s first round with many of those picks, they would have to be eyeing defensive end, along with cornerback. So you’re right, you can’t look at this group right now and definitively talk about the future of the defensive ends.”

Willie Henry

Mosher: “The Willie Henry signing ,we haven’t really talked about that. That’s like one of those sneaky value signings. He’s a draft pick of the Ravens, he didn’t play very well but sometimes guys need a change of atmosphere, a change of defense or whatever. I like that you go get a guy who’s played in the NFL a little bit, have him compete.”

Caplan: “Yeah look, he’s been in the league a while, he didn’t make it as a fourth-round pick of the Ravens. He bounced around with the Niners on and off their roster, in terms of practice squad. Went to Houston’s practice squad, now he is with Philly, he’s got to ability. The guy was a fourth-round pick, so he’s there, we’ll see what happens, he’s got an opportunity. By the way he definitely has an opportunity to be the fourth tackle because nobody’s done anything and these guys [Hassan] Ridgeway, [Milton] Williams, [Marlon] Tuipulotu, [T.Y.] McGill and Henry all have a chance.”

Rookie DLs

Mosher: “They’re high on Marlon Tuipulotu, high on Milton Williams, it’s gonna be nice to see these kids kind of evolve over the summer and see if they can really make it.”

Caplan: “Yeah, Milton Williams will make it. The question is can he actually dress on game day? Will he flash enough to show that he deserves to play? And then if he does, if he’s active, does he have a meaningful role? Can he get 15-20 snaps a game? You had said that they were looking for a nose right?”

Mosher: “Yeah someone to play more head-up, being kind of a more natural run stopper, which he can do. [Tuipulotu] did that at USC.”

– Justin Morganstein (@jmotweets_) is a staff contributor to InsideTheBirds.com

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