Anthony Barr is slated to re-sign with the Minnesota Vikings on a five-year, 67.5 million dollar contract after announcing his plans to sign with the New York Jets yesterday, according to Bleacher Report. Anyone who knows football should understand why he would re-sign with Minnesota. I mean, seriously, who wants to play for a team whose best quarterback in franchise history threw 220 interceptions to 173 touchdowns and didn’t have knees? Anyway, the Jets lost themselves a 6’5″, 255 lb athletic freak before he was even on the team. That’s the Jets for you, fumbling away an opportunity at a good player like he was a football slipping out of Mark Sanchez’s hands as he ran directly into his own center’s ass.
Whether the Vikings offered a sweeter contract or Barr just didn’t want to deal with relocating doesn’t really matter at this point. Barr is already a big winner in this deal, provided he continues to produce at an above-average level for the next five years, which he has the talent to do so. The problem, for the Vikings, with this signing is that they’ve just given a long-term deal to a player whose production has been pretty stagnant for the five seasons he’s spent in Minnesota so far (here are his career stats). Barr has yet to surpass 75 tackles in a single season, but, at the same time, this past season was the only one where he didn’t approach that number of tackles (he had 55, a career low). He did only appear in 13 games last season, but he only appeared in 12 games his rookie year (2014) and still reached 70 tackles. He’s a reliable blitzer, racking up 13.5 sacks in five years, not bad for a 4-3 outside linebacker, but nothing eye-popping. He also has the length and athleticism to reliably cover tight ends one-on-one. However, he only has 22 passes defended and one interception in 71 career games. My point is, the only thing on Anthony Barr’s stat sheet that stands out is his size. So, the Vikings have just given a near 70 million dollar extension to a man whose greatest career accomplishment is breaking Aaron Rodgers’s collarbone.
Barr is far from a bad signing, better than most players at his position because of his raw talent alone. Minnesota is paying a lot of money to keep him around though, money that could be used to grab a quarterback that can actually win against a playoff team (Vikings fans didn’t like that Kirk Cousins). The sam linebacker spot in a 4-3 defense also isn’t something most GMs would spend that much money on unless they put up elite numbers, which Barr has yet to do. He should still be a rock-solid starter on the strong side of an immensely talented Vikings defense, but don’t be surprised if he’s out of a job within the next couple of years.