Connor Barwin

Connor Barwin Announces Retirement

Connor Barwin is hanging ’em up. This week, the longtime NFL pass-rusher announced his retirement from the sport. 

[On Tuesday], I turn 33 and after a decade of playing the greatest sport there is, I’m excited to say I’m moving on to the next chapter of my life,” Barwin wrote on social media. “To my coaches, teammates, fans, and family – thank you all! It was an honor to compete on Sundays for the last ten years. Houston, Philadelphia, LA, and New York – couldn’t have dreamed of a better journey. Thank you for the good times and all the support!

Barwin enjoyed some of his best years with the Eagles from 2013-2016 and lobbied for a return late in the summer. That never came to fruition and Barwin is ready to move on to life after football.

Barwin’s very best season came in Philly in 2014 when he racked up 14.5 sacks, made the Pro Bowl, and earned second-team All-Pro honors. He signed a one-year deal with the Rams in 2017, and, although he had five sacks, his performance wasn’t well-regarded by the advanced metrics. Then, Barwin signed a two-year deal with the Giants before the 2018 season but didn’t make waves in New York, either.

While things didn’t necessarily end on a high note, Barwin leaves the game after an impressive total run. He notched 56.5 sacks across ten NFL seasons for the Texans, Eagles, Rams, and Giants, and that’s plenty to celebrate on his 33rd birthday.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Connor Barwin Wants To Play For The Eagles, Plans To Sign Soon

It’s getting pretty late in the free agency process and pass-rusher Connor Barwin hasn’t signed yet, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t planning on playing in 2019. During a recent interview with Heavy.com, the veteran revealed he still wants to play, and that he even has a specific team in mind.

I’m trying to come back and play for the Eagles,” Barwin said. “I’m training right now and I’ve talked to [Eagles GM] Howie [Roseman] and they’re going to see if they need any depth on the edge and so I’m going to wait until camp starts before I sign anywhere else, but obviously I’m not going to wait too long. But the Eagles know that’s where I want to be.”

Barwin was with the Eagles from 2013 through 2016 and had some of his best years with the team, so it makes sense why he wants to return. By far the best season of Barwin’s career came in Philly in 2014 when he racked up 14.5 sacks and made the Pro Bowl. He was also a second-team All-Pro that year. He signed a one-year deal with the Rams in 2017, and although he had five sacks he was a bit of a disappointment.

He signed a two-year deal with the Giants last offseason and was an even bigger disappointment in New York, getting released back in February. He took a meeting with the Dolphins last month, but nothing materialized. In his one season with the Giants he made only three starts, and finished with just one sack. Barwin is 32 now, but still thinks he has something left in the tank. That being said, he understands he won’t be signing anywhere in an every-down role.

I’m going into my 11th year and I’m ready to just be a situational player. Howie knows. I’ll be there if one of the three guys get hurt or if something happens, or to mentor the younger guys,” he said. Barwin said his preference is the Eagles, but that if they pass he won’t hesitate to go elsewhere. “Me and Howie are talking. I might wait a week into camp, but that’s about as far as I’m going to wait. Other teams are going to be like, ‘You better sign now or we’re going to sign someone else.’ If not, I’ll try to go to another contender. I would love for it to be in a good situation where I can contribute,” he continued.

While Barwin is clearly over the hill, he seems confident that he’ll be able to find a team. There will probably be a club looking for some veteran pass-rushing help, and after Philadelphia traded away Michael Bennett this offseason it’s quite possible it’ll be the Eagles.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Dolphins Meet With Connor Barwin

Veteran defensive end/outside linebacker Connor Barwin will visit with the Dolphins on Wednesday, according to Adam Caplan of ESPN.com (on Twitter). This marks Barwin’s first known interest since his official release from the Giants in February. 

The Giants first decided to part ways with Barwin in late January, but the move was not finalized until later on in the winter. Barwin hooked on with the Giants late last summer and, at the time, it seemed as though he’d have a significant role on defense. Eventually, his playing time dwindled. The 32-year-old (33 in October) appeared in 15 games but started in just three and had just one sack to his credit in 2018.

Barwin’s best days may be behind him, but he has 56.5 career sacks to his credit and a whole lot of knowledge to share with the Dolphins’ younger defenders.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Giants Release LB Connor Barwin

It’s officially official. On Monday, the Giants released linebacker Connor Barwin, per a team announcement. 

[RELATED: Latest On Giants, Eli Manning]

The Giants first decided to part ways with Barwin in late January, but the move was not finalized until Monday afternoon. Barwin joined the Giants on July 25 at the start of training camp and, at the time, it seemed as though he’d have a significant role on defense. Eventually, his playing time dwindled. The 32-year-old appeared in 15 games but started in just three and had just one sack to his credit in 2018.

If Barwin wants to continue playing, he should be able to find a market for his services. He may have to settle for something near the veteran’s minimum, but he’s already earned big bucks throughout his career.

Before his release, Barwin’s 51 sacks were the highest of any player on the Giants’ roster.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Giants, Connor Barwin To Part Ways

Connor Barwin will not return to the Giants next season. The veteran outside linebacker still has one more year to go on his contract, but the two sides will be “parting ways,” according to Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com (on Twitter). 

Reading between the lines, it sounds as though Barwin will be released before his $250K roster bonus hits on March 7. His two-year, $3.5MM deal calls for him to carry a $1.865MM cap number in 2019 if he stays on the roster. By releasing him, the Giants would save $1.5MM against just $365K in dead money.

The Giants appreciate Barwin’s experience and leadership, but they want to take a longer look at younger players, Raanan hears. With 56.5 career sacks, it’s likely that Barwin will draw interest elsewhere, assuming that he wants to continue playing.

Barwin’s playing time dipped as the season progressed, a sign that the Giants did not have him in their long-term plans. The 32-year-old appeared in 15 games but started in just three and had just one sack to his credit in 2018.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC Notes: 49ers, Barwin, Beckwith, Saints

Despite Jimmy Garoppolo entering his 49ers training camp, he’s not expected to receive an abnormal workload this preseason. Even though Kyle Shanahan has cited the time it takes for quarterbacks to become sufficiently assimilated in his system, Matt Barrows of The Athletic notes (subscription required) backup C.J. Beathard is likely to receive most of the reps during preseason games. The 49ers figure to have an ulterior motive by doing this, with Barrows writing San Francisco will want to trade Beathard for draft compensation at some point before his rookie contract expires. They will be intent on showcasing the 2017 third-rounder as much as possible as a result. The Iowa product completed 54.9 percent of his passes, with four TDs and six INTs, as a rookie before Garoppolo supplanted him as the Niners’ starter.

It’s camp-reporting week. Here’s the NFC’s latest:

  • Connor Barwin will be counted on to be one of Olivier Vernon‘s sidekicks this season, but his Giants agreement is not merely a one-year pact. Barwin agreed to a two-year deal worth up to $5MM, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports (on Twitter). This will be Barwin’s fourth NFL team, with the Giants following the Texans, Eagles and Rams. A Pro Bowler with the 2014 Eagles, Barwin’s done his best work in 3-4 defenses — which the Giants will now use. Both of Barwin’s double-digit sack seasons (2011 and 2014) came in this set.
  • Chris Thompson said Monday he will avoid the Redskins‘ PUP list. Washington’s passing-down back broke one of his fibulas in November but has worked his way back. He’s expected to remain the Redskins’ receiving back. “I’m feeling pretty good right now,” Thompson said during a Sirius XM Radio interview (via PFT). “I will start practicing with the guys from Day 1 but just taking it slowly. The focus is to really be ready by that first regular-season game.”
  • Kendell Beckwith will not, however, avoid the Buccaneers‘ PUP (Twitter link, via Scott Smith of Buccaneers.com). The young linebacker fractured an ankle in a car accident in April and underwent surgery. The immediate timetable tabbed Beckwith as unclear for Week 1, while a summer update indicated he might be ready in time for camp. Beckwith won’t meet that goal, it appears, but it’s not certain if he’s going to miss all of Tampa Bay’s camp.
  • Despite being a newcomer and coming off an ACL tear, Cameron Meredith looks like the frontrunner to claim the Saints‘ No. 2 wide receiver job, Josh Katzenstein of NOLA.com notes. Playing with quarterbacks who aren’t in Drew Brees‘ stratosphere, Meredith caught 66 passes for 888 yards and four TDs in 2016. Third-round rookie Tre’Quan Smith may also be a threat to diminish Ted Ginn and Brandon Coleman‘s playing time as well, per Katzenstein, though it’s hard to envision Ginn (53 receptions, 787 receiving yards last season) being squeezed out of a significant role. He’s owed $4.5MM this season.

Giants To Sign Connor Barwin

The Giants are expected to sign veteran outside linebacker Connor Barwin, a source tells Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com (on Twitter). The addition of Barwin will give the G-Men some much-needed depth at the position and a quality veteran presence. 

Barwin’s relationship with linebackers coach Bill McGovern likely helped to foster the deal. The two worked together in Philadelphia, where Barwin played as a starter from 2013-2016 and earned a Pro Bowl nod. McGovern was Barwin’s positional coach for his first three years with the Eagles.

This has been a surprisingly quiet offseason for Barwin. In June, Barwin was included on our list of the best remaining free agents, but there weren’t a lot of calls made on the 31-year-old. In, April that the linebacker visited with the Cardinals, and Rams general manager Les Snead had expressed interest in bringing him back for a second season in Los Angeles. Otherwise, there were no other reported workouts or visits for the former second-rounder.

The Giants’ rotation at edge rusher is headlined by standout Olivier Vernon, but there are lots of question marks outside of that. Barwin probably stands a good chance of making the cut as a reserve – particularly since he does his best work in a 3-4 scheme – but he’ll have to prove himself between now and September.

Following a four-year stint with the Eagles, Barwin signed a one-year, $6.5MM deal with the Rams last offseason. He managed to put up solid numbers for his new team, compiling 34 tackles and five sacks in 14 games (13 starts). However, advanced metrics weren’t kind to the nine-year veteran, as Pro Football Focus ranked Barwin as the third-worst pass rusher in the NFL among 106 candidates.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

LB Connor Barwin To Sign Before Training Camp?

It’s been a relatively quiet offseason for Connor Barwin, but it sounds like the linebacker may have several offers on the table. During an appearance on SiriusXM NFL Radio today, the free agent said he will likely sign with a contender before training camp.

“We’ve had interest from a number of teams all offseason,” said Barwin (via Twitter). “The offers I have, I think I’ll make my decision before camp starts. I’m not going to go somewhere that I don’t think can win a Super Bowl.”

Last month, Barwin was included on our list of the best remaining free agents, but there hasn’t been much interest in the 31-year-old. We learned back in April that the linebacker had visited with the Cardinals, and Rams general manager Les Snead had expressed interest in bringing him back for a second season in Los Angeles. Otherwise, there’s been no reported workouts or visits for the former second-rounder.

Following a four-year stint with the Eagles, Barwin signed a one-year, $6.5MM deal with the Rams last offseason. He managed to put up solid numbers for his new team, compiling 34 tackles and five sacks in 14 games (13 starts). However, advanced metrics weren’t kind to the nine-year veteran, as Pro Football Focus ranked Barwin as the third-worst pass rusher in the NFL among 106 candidates.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

The Best Remaining NFL Free Agents

There are still plenty of impact free agents left on the board, including some big names. Here’s a look at some of the high-profile veterans that are still looking for work in advance of training camp: 

Kaepernick probably stands as the most talented quarterback left on the open market, but his ongoing collusion case against the NFL complicated matters. It seems unlikely that he’ll land anywhere between now and the start of the season, but friend and former teammate Eric Reid probably has a better chance of signing somewhere, despite being in a similar boat. Recently, the duo was spotted working out together in California.

It seems like just yesterday that Murray was the league’s most fearsome running back. Unfortunately, Murray’s age has caught up to him to some extent and he was overshadowed last year in Tennessee by the younger Derrick HenryThe Titans dropped Murray in March and he has not found a new NFL home despite meeting with the LionsSeahawks, and Dolphins since his release. Recently, the Saints tried to include Murray in their cattle call for running backs, but he declined the invite.

Peterson has lobbied the Texans, Saints, Packers, Panthers, Dolphins, and Rams to sign him, but we have yet to hear of any reciprocated interest from those clubs. It’s possible that Murray and Peterson won’t sign unless a running back injury opens up an opportunity for them. Teams could also steer clear of Peterson altogether given his desire for a starring role despite his lack of star performance over the last two years.

Bryant is the biggest name on this list, but we shouldn’t expect to see him sign anywhere until July. There have been conflicting reports on his market, but the latest word indicates that he is receiving interest, despite concerns about his demeanor in the locker room.

Read more

The Best Remaining NFL Free Agents

The biggest names in this year’s free agent class such as Kirk Cousins, Sammy Watkins, Allen Robinson, and Trumaine Johnson have long been spoken for, but plenty of notable players remain on the board here in June. With a hat tip to James Palmer of NFL.com (on Twitter), here’s a look at some high-profile veterans who are still seeking work this summer: 

Of course, Kaepernick’s situation is more complicated than the rest. Lately, the only updates we’ve heard regarding Kaepernick have been tied to his pending collusion case against the NFL. Former teammate Reid is certainly closer to the NFL radar after an April meeting with the Bengals, but he also believes teams are shying away from him due to his participation in anthem protests. Reid filed a grievance of his own against the NFL in May and has been spotted working out with Kaepernick.

Unfortunately for Murray and Peterson, filing a grievance for age bias against running backs is not an option. The Titans kicked Murray to the curb in March and he has not found a new NFL home despite meeting with the Lions, Seahawks, and Dolphins since his release. Peterson has lobbied the Texans, Saints, Packers, Panthers, Dolphins, and Rams to sign him, but we have yet to hear of any reciprocated interest from those clubs. Given Peterson’s reluctance to be on the lower end of a timeshare in New Orleans last year, one has to imagine that Peterson will not be a real consideration for teams unless a starter gets injured in camp. Murray could be a more attractive option for teams. Although he averaged just 3.6 yards per tote with the Titans last year, he contributed in the passing game with 39 receptions.

Bryant says he has no regrets about turning down a three-year, $21MM offer from the Ravens, but right now it looks like he blew his opportunity at a solid free agent deal. Reportedly, many teams are unwilling to consider him for even the league minimum, so it seems unlikely that he’ll find the lucrative one-year contract he’s seeking. On the plus side, his former employer says multiple teams have checked in on him.

Things have been eerily quiet for Maclin after he was displaced by the Ravens, though the Eagles and Cowboys considered him internally in the spring. We also haven’t heard a peep about Decker since his spring meetings with the Raiders and Ravens. Both players are roughly in the same boat – they were 1,000-yard receivers in 2015, but they are on the wrong side of 30 and haven’t done much on the field in the last two years. Still, both profile as low-risk/high-reward signings.

Read more