As we’ve done in years past, we’re going to start up our Roster Countdown series of posts as we get ready for the regular season.
Background: Barnes has spent the last three seasons with the San Diego Chargers, mostly as a pass-rush specialist, something the Jets were keen to find during free agency after not re-signing the retiring Bryan Thomas. Barnes was a fourth-round draft pick for Baltimore in 2007, and and played two of his three years with the Ravens under Rex Ryan before he left Baltimore for New York. Barnes best season came in 2011 when the Chargers needed as much defensive help as possible and Barnes played by far the most snaps of his career — more than double any other season. In that season, Barnes tallied 11 sacks and was effective in hurrying the passer.
2013 Projection: Barnes can fill in in a pinch against the run, but expect that will be the domain of the Pace, Sapp and McIntyre grouping in the team’s base defense. With as much as the Jets play out of their Nickel packages, Barnes might see a large amount of time on the field, but it will likely still be less than the snap count (483) he had back in 2011. With the personnel that the Jets will have this year, Barnes will fit in with the the nickel substitution group nicely. Expect Barnes to be used most often as the team’s bookend rusher with Quinton Coples while Wilkerson and either his old Charger teammate Antonio Garay or rookie Sheldon Richardson man the interior in an attempt to squeeze the pocket. Barnes won’t likely see 11 sacks with the Jets this season, but his ability to provide exterior pressure and to hurry the quarterback might lead to 5-8 sacks on the season for him.