In what really should not be a big surprise, the Eagles have picked up the fifth-year option in the contract of former first-round pick Derek Barnett, a league source confirmed to SI.com.
The defensive end was taken 14 overall in 2017. Under the old collective bargaining agreement, first-round picks had a fifth-year team option put into their deals. Under the new CBA, that fifth-year option for first-round draft picks are guaranteed.
The fifth year in Barnett’s contract will pay him $10 million in 2020.
When healthy, Barnett has played well and never takes a play off, always hustling to the ball wherever it is on the field.
The problem has been health. He has yet to play all 16 regular-season games.
After playing 15 games a rookie, without any starts, Barnett suffered a shoulder injury that landed him on Injured Reserve after just six games.
Barnett had tried to play through the injury before being shut down.
Last season, Barnett played 14 games but frequently appeared on the team’s injury report throughout the season.
Still he had 6.5 sacks in 2019 and has 14 in his three years with the team.
The Eagles did not address the defensive position in the draft or free agency so this will be an important year for Barnett.
He and Brandon Graham are the only two edge players with any sort of experience. The third defensive end position is anybody’s guess, though former fourth-round pick Josh Sweat came on strong last year and is likely the favorite to earn that spot.
The Eagles did add free agent Javon Hargrave in free agency to play tackle and they are expected to have back healthy Malik Jackson.
The return of Jackson could mean some outside snaps for Jackson, though he isn’t totally in love with the idea.
Barnett will now only carry the burden of trying to stay healthy but he will be playing for a new contract in 2020.