We’re almost in July, and teams are still looking for players to add in free agency. One of the more popular names still out there, waiting for a team, is linebacker Nick Barnett, who might get pick up by either the Kansas City Chiefs, New York Giants or Jacksonville Jaguars.
All three teams were in the running for Desmond Bishop, but he eventually chose the Minnesota Vikings in yet another inner-NFC North transfer. So they move on to the next best thing left to sign, which is Barnett, following two seasons with the Buffalo Bills but also a former Green Bay Packers player.
At 32, with two big injuries during his career (2008, 2010), Barnett is way past his prime, and entering his 11th NFL season, it’s more about depth and coverage he can offer teams that feel they’re lacking at that position than actually becoming a starter with a lot of impact in the game.
The big advantage in bringing in Barnett is his versatility, and ability to play in multiple schemes and in more than just one specific linebacker position. In the 4-3 scheme, Barnett can line up both in the MLB position or as a WLB, where he played all of last season for the Bills at, getting two sacks and 72 tackles.
In the 3-4 scheme, Barnett is usually one of the two inside linebacker, which was his designation during the 2009 season for the Packers, his last injury-free season for the team.
As of now, no approaches have been made, but that’s likely to change soon as teams are speeding up the process of completing their rosters. Barnett has been away from negotiations up to this point, probably not liking what he’s seen salary-wise from the market. However, at this point, if he’s not planning on retiring or relying on luck and injuries later in the season to earn him a spot, he’s more inclined to accept anything offered to him.