Pass-rush help should still be on the agenda for the Baltimore Ravens, even after the team signed Jadeveon Clowney in free agency. Fortunately, an “intelligent” edge-rusher for the Philadelphia Eagles wants to be traded, and the Ravens are among his best landing spots, according to Pro Football Network’s Dallas Robinson.
He believes “even with Clowney in town, Baltimore doesn’t have enough reliable edge defenders. Clowney himself was disappointing with the Browns in 2022. Odafe Oweh is still developing his pass-rushing craft and has only eight sacks through two seasons. And David Ojabo played just 30 total snaps a year ago while working his way back from a torn Achilles.”
Robinson also acknowledged “Barnett isn’t a world-beater, but he’s an intelligent player with a high football IQ who should be able to pick up the Ravens’ scheme and contribute to a lacking pass-rush unit relatively early in his tenure.”
Barnett asked his agent Drew Rosenhaus to gauge the trade market for interest on Monday, August 28, per ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler.
Any interested party could expect to pay a premium for a defensive end taken 14th overall in the 2017 NFL draft, but the Ravens needn’t be put off by a lofty asking price. Not when the production and depth at the edges of their front seven both remain suspect.
Former First-Round Pick Worth Risk for Ravens
Barnett won’t be dealt on the cheap, not when the Eagles want the “best possible offer” for their former first-round pick, according to Jeff McLane of The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Deciding what the “best possible offer” looks like isn’t easy, but a third or a fourth-round pick should at least get the Eagles talking. Especially since Barnett’s never logged more than 6.5 sacks in a season.
The numbers won’t wow anybody, but Barnett’s versatility and underlying metrics should appeal to the Ravens. He generated over 20 pressures in three-straight seasons before tearing his ACL against the Detroit Lions in Week 1 and missing all but one game in 2022.
Barnett may have struggled to finish pressures with sacks, but the same accusation can be levied against Clowney. The latter hasn’t posted double-digit sacks once throughout a nine-year career that began with Clowney being drafted first overall by the Houston Texans in 2014.
Sack are what the Ravens need, but head coach John Harbaugh and defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald know applying consistent pressure on the pass pocket is more important. Barnett can do that, making him a useful situational rusher for a team lacking a credible veteran presence besides Clowney, with injuries a concern.
Ravens Need Numbers on the Edge
The Ravens can’t risk pinning too many hopes on Odafe Oweh and David Ojabo carrying the pass rush. Not when Oweh’s been inconsistent through his first two seasons in the pros, while Ojabo barely saw the field as a rookie.
Those issues are why signing Clowney made sense, but things would look a lot better with another proven commodity added to the rotation. Tyus Bowser could fill the void after leading the team with seven sacks in 2021, but the 28-year-old’s status for Week 1 and beyond remains uncertain.
Bowser is dealing with a knee problem, and Harbaugh isn’t sure when No. 54 will be ready to play, per ESPN’s Jamison Hensley: “I’m hopeful really that he’ll get back here first game, second game, third game, somewhere in there. But we’ll just have to see.”
Any prolonged absence for Bowser will increase the pressure on Oweh and Ojabo to make the grade. It would also require Clowney turning the clock back to his best seasons of 2017 and ’18.
Engineering a deal for Barnett is a quick way to solve the problem and has good upside for the Ravens. Barnett’s still just 27, can play end or outside linebacker and has only scratched the surface of his full potential, so he could work his way into the additional playing time he desires.
James Dudko covers the New York Giants, New England Patriots and Baltimore Ravens for Heavy.com. He has covered the NFL and world soccer since 2011, with bylines at FanSided, Prime Time Sports Talk and Bleacher Report before joining Heavy in 2021. More about James Dudko
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