Less than 12 hours into the legal tampering period, the New York Jets reportedly agreed to a deal with former Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr. The official number is yet to be released, but the deal is reported to be worth approximately $14-15 million per year.
The New York Jets defense was a few pieces away from being elite in 2018. Edge rusher was a clear hole on the defense, with a mix of Frankie Luvu and Brandon Copeland seeing most of the reps on one side of the ball, opposite of Jordan Jenkins. If things go as planned, Anthony Barr will be taking over as the starting edge rusher for Gang Green in 2019.
Barr’s 13.5 career sacks through five seasons can be alarming when you first glance at his stats. Don’t let it fool you, though. This guy can get to the quarterback. He’s showed it in college and at the pro level.
Barr was regarded as a pure pass rusher coming out of UCLA. Some even thought he was a better pass rusher than Khalil Mack coming out of college. Barr posted 23.5 sacks in his final two seasons at UCLA, along with 41.5 tackles for loss. These monstrous numbers earned him a slot in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft.
When the Vikings drafted him, they moved him out of the pass-rushing role, and into an off-ball linebacker role. This heavily hurt Barr statistically, as his sack numbers dropped down significantly. When he has gotten the opportunity to rush the passer, he’s capitalized.
Barr has totaled 103 career pressures on only 566 pass rush snaps and has ranked in the top 10 in pressures among linebackers in four out of his five seasons in the league. He hasn’t done it on a consistent basis since college, but Barr can still get to the quarterback.
Anthony Barr's ranking among LBs in QB pressures since he was drafted
9th 6th9th 16th5th
Tell me more about him not being able to rush the passer.
— Peter Bukowski (@Peter_Bukowski) March 5, 2019
So, Barr has shown he can rush the passer and will have every opportunity to do so in the green and white. Barr is a perfect player for Gregg Williams. He is big, athletic, and can do just about anything as a linebacker. Williams will see endless potential in Barr and do everything in his power to maximize it.
Barr will come at a hefty price tag, but he may turn out to be worth every penny. Under his new pass-rushing role, we could see him elevate his game to another level. The Jets filled a big hole on their defense in strong fashion and made an excellent move overall by acquiring Barr.