OUR first pick in the 2017 Draft was DE Derek Barnett, and it was a stupid pick to make. I’m not saying that the young man won’t get sacks. He will get sacks. Even DE Marcus Smith has gotten us sacks. I’m not saying Barnett won’t be a decent pro. I’m saying that given our needs at other positions, and how financially leveraged we are along the Defensive Line, it made no sense to pile more money in an area that will only prevent us from spending on other positions where we badly need the help.
I won’t even harp on the whole thing were we passed on talent at other positions. That’s a real issue, but I’ll let that walk until at least after round three. (The Eagles may surprise us. Again.) When I say it was a bad pick, I mean it from a purely mathematical standpoint.
Let’s look at some numbers!
1) Over the next two years we’re still on the hook to DE Vinny Curry for 20M out of a guaranteed 23M (7M base and 2M bonus in 2017 / 9M base and 2M bonus in 2018). After that, we’re free to release him and eat 6M in dead money for two years due to an amortization of his 10M signing bonus.
2) Over the next three years DT Fletcher Cox is guaranteed 49.3M of 63.3M (3M base, 5.2M bonus, 1.2M option in 2017 / 11.5M base, 5.2M bonus, 1.2M option in 2018 / 15.6M base, 5.2M bonus, 1.2M option in 2019). After that we’re free to release him and eat 6.4M in dead money.
I know those numbers turn into a blur when you read them quick like that, but the point is that for these two players, out of about 167M in cap space, we already were on the hook for 18M in 2017, and 28.9M in 2018. Now to that same D-Line we just added a first round contract, which will fall somewhere in the area of 4years, 18M (DE DeForest Buckner #7 in 2016) and 4years, 10M (DE Shaq Lawson #19 in 2016).
We are loading money into one area, and it will keep us from being able to spread it around into other positions like OT, CB, and WR; none of which are ever cheap when you try to sign or re-sign quality players. This doesn’t even mention positions like LB, and RB which we badly need help at.
In the meantime, some fans are cheering this pick like it means the end of Curry. What those fans fail to understand is that Curry will impact this roster for at least the next two years. At least. That’s regardless of how things play out. Whether he starts the next 32 games, or is cut the moment you read these words, Curry will seriously impact the Eagles until at least 2019. The real question is would you like to try and recoup some value over these next two years, or would you rather see him cut (after never starting a single game) and just swallow it?
On the other hand, people talking like Barnett will be the next Reggie White because he broke White’s college sack record, crack me up. If they’re looking for Barnett to get us 13, 18, 21 and 18 sacks in his first four years, despite not being quick twitch, possessing an explosive step, or not being great at changing direction, boy are they gonna be disappointed. How many great NFL pass rushers are playing in the NFL today without at least one of those tools? How many? Oh yeah, that’s right. Not one.
This isn’t the case of a talent (Barnett) that was too good to pass up. There will be no takers in a trade for a guy (Curry) making 9M per year who has never started a game. This is an unforced error that will limit our options at other spots on the roster. We didn’t administer forethought to this pick. As a result, we’ve painted ourselves into a corner. (Ironically by not selecting one.)