While the most money might be doled out on the first day of free agency, as of last night only 42 of the top 100 free agents (via Rotoworld) had actually signed with teams. The takeaway? There’s still plenty of players left who can help teams, but maybe there’s fewer who will earn more than $10 million per year doing so. But it’s not like the Jets were even in that type of free-spending market this year anyway, and we all knew that. Between trying to trade away Darrelle Revis and$15 million that they’ve been able to free up through begging players, borrowing from future caps, and stealing back contracts, the Jets are looking to economically fill holes between now and the draft.
To that end, the Jets are bringing OLB Antwan Barnes, formerly of the Chargers today.
In the last three years with the Chargers, Barnes accumulated 18.5 sacks in substitution work. Barnes is powerful and stoutly built linebacker with passing height for the position, but he’s not advantageously tall to play the edge. Barnes has worked his way up the roster into a spot-starter, and is much better at attacking the ball carrier than dropping into coverage. Barnes can show a burst off the edge through his ability to bend and turn towards the pocket, and plays with a good pad level. Barnes speed is in much better evidence going forward than backwards.
For the Jets based on the current roster, he could immediately be penciled in as a starting OLB, probably with Ricky Sapp based on the current roster, but that could change depending on what the Jets would do in the draft. The Jets have also expressed interest in former Cowboy Victor Butler, a player who saw time behind the starting OLBs in Dallas … in which there’s no great shame in that. Butler travels first to Pittsburgh though, so he might be a tough sell for the Jets.