New York Jets Sign Linebacker Antwan Barnes

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The New York Jets bolstered their pass rush and improved their currently shaky depth at outside linebacker by signing former San Diego Charger Antwan Barnes. This has been a long rumored move as Barnes has experience in Rex Ryan’s defense from the 2007 and 2008 season when both were in Baltimore. The Jets had expressed interest in Barnes in previous years but were never able to get the deal done.

Barnes is a situational player who will likely be given an opportunity for the most extensive playing time of his career. His best season came in 2011 for the Chargers when he finished with 11 sacks, highlighted by a 4 sack game in primetime against the Baltimore Ravens. Last year, he missed 5 games due to injury and finished with 3 sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. At a minimum, Barnes will provide some needed juice off the edge on third downs and in passing situations. Yet, considering the current depth chart at outside linebacker, it wouldn’t be a surprise if he had a strong chance to start or at least platoon with a player like Garret McIntyre or a draft pick.

Of the current outside linebackers on the team, Barnes is the most accomplished by a mile with 23.5 career sacks. McIntyre is the only other linebacker on the Jets roster besides David Harris (an inside linebacker) who has ever registered a NFL sack with 3.5 for his career.

The signing of Barnes continues a trend by GM John Idzik of being patient on the free agent market and finding potential short-term, low-cost starters. Willie Colon and Antonio Garay were further examples of this and it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Jets still add another outside linebacker (Victor Butler?) and a safety (Dawan Landry?). They also have rumored interest in former Oakland Raiders wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey, a signing that would likely mean Braylon Edwards is not coming back next year.

  • Kevin

    Really impressed with Idzik. Goodson, Colon, and now Barnes are 3 low risk/high reward signings. Now if they can sign Victor Butler and draft Jarvis Jones, the outside linebacker position has been improved dramatically.

    By the way, this is an awesome website. You guys are the only sensible Jets media around. Keep up the good work

  • Dr E Ray Stat

    can you explain the reasoning behind the jets interest in DHB? isnt he a faster, version of stephen hill, somebody who most consider is not ideal for the WCO?

  • blastingzone

    Good signing! Now like the article says we need to sign Landry and Butler and Booth
    if there’s enough money left to sign all three? At least try to sign two out of three!
    Between the FA signings and the draft the
    jets might just not be to bad?

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  • Joe Caporoso

    Thanks for reading! And I am a little perplexed by DHB interest as well. They could just be linked to him because the Jets WR coach Sanjay Lal used to coach him. His lack of route-running ability is a concern, however you can’t teach speed and he could clear out the underneath routes in a limited role. If the interest is real, it doesn’t speak well to what the new staff thinks of Stephen Hill.

  • http://turnonthejets.com Byrdman

    I just don’t think you build a SB contender by “Dumpster Diving”

  • Johnny

    I don’t think this is dumpster diving but a prudent move. He led the Chargers in sacks two years ago and for some reason they brought in some other guys who played his position and reduced his role. So he has the potential to be a really good player when given the opportunity. Additionally, he has played for Rex so he knows some of what he wants out of his defense. So I don’t see this as a dumpster move. Your hole team can’t be composed of superstars and the ones around them are just as important.

  • http://toj mike

    Was very happy to hear that Barnes is officially a Jet. As you pointed out his experience with Rex,D. Thurman, and his actual game experience at the position, along with the fact he is much better than any one else on our roster at that position. As far DHB goes I’m really scratching my head on that one. Do the Jets brass just hate Braylon? I personally love the guy. He’s a big target, great blocker, good routes,etc.. I know DHB can run, but hasn’t proved anything else in his career. You also mentioned Butler and Landry in your piece. I would to have them both! Keeping my fingers crossed that we get them both.

  • Joe Caporoso

    Considering the Jets budget and number of holes – I think this is a sensible move. At a minimum, he will be a strong situational pass rusher

  • matr dontelli

    i also get the idea that for some reason the team does not think highly of braylon. the guy loves the jets and wants to be here. considering they’re (seemingly) expecting holmes to contribute, and what they gave up to draft hill, i cannot understand why they would go after dhb. unless this is once again just throw-stuff-at-the-wall-and-see-what-sticks media speculation (hes a wideout. their wideouts sucked last year, therefore they must want him. good sound espn, nydn-type logic)

  • matr dontelli

    …and if they don’t dumpster hunt now they’ll have to dumpster hunt after the draft. you can’t shop in sach’s without money, and you need to have 53 men on the roster. i am extremely pleased and impressed with idzik and the teams off-season performance thus far. not bad for a rookie!

  • Nikolas

    Congratulations for your website. It is really informative.

  • Nikolas

    Regarding the Antwan Barnes signing, the Pro Football Focus (PPF) has the following summary:

    Summary: This free agent class is long on run defenders and players that you’re playing a little bit of a guessing game as to what they have left in the tank. Now to round out our Top 10 we have a situational player who whenever he has been given the opportunity he’s been a tremendously productive pass rusher.

    With the Chargers completely re-tooling their outside linebacker corps last season, Barnes was a victim of the numbers game, but teams should still be interested in just what he brings to the table. You only need look back to 2011 when Barnes was one of the most productive pass rushers, per pass rush, in the entire league. That season he recorded 45 total pressures on only 265 pass rushes including 11 sacks which gave him a Pass Rushing Productivity rating of 13.8. That number was bettered by only two edge defenders (Trent Cole and Aldon Smith). With so many teams starved of pass rushers they could do far worse than give Barnes some snaps to get after the quarterback in obvious passing situations.