Philadelphia Eagles: Why not replace Chris Long with Connor Barwin?

(Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
(Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /

Despite having a down season with the NY Giants in 2018, the Philadelphia Eagles should give Connor Barwin one final rodeo as Chris Long’s replacement.

While the Philadelphia Eagles have already added a gullet of defensive lineman so far this offseason – including Vinny Curry, Malik Jackson, and Timmy Jernigan in free agency, Shareef Miller with the 138th overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, and Hassan Ridgeway via trade – that doesn’t mean the team can’t still have a pressing need for a little extra firepower coming off the edge.

And if you ask former (let’s be honest current) fan favorite Connor Barwin who the team should add the answer is simple: ex-Eagles linebacker/defensive end Connor Barwin.

Barwin initially breached the topic on June 29th in a conversation with Mike Greger of

"“I’m trying to come back and play for the Eagles. 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.”"

Say what you will about Barwin, but he’s not particularly subtle about what he wants.

While these comments could easily be taken as an over-the-hill player looking for one last chance to chase a ring in a town that wholeheartedly embraced him, when he brought it up again on July 11th, it seems like Barwin is even more energized to get back in a midnight green jersey before Week 1.

In a second, but equally evocative interview with of The Eagles Wire, Barwin once again brought up a desire to play for Philly, eluding to his ability to replace eventual winner of the Muhammad Ali Sports Humanitarian Award, Chris Long.

"Obviously, the best situation for me would be to not have to leave the Eagles,” Barwin said via Jeff Kerr. “The roster is awesome. They look like they should be in the playoffs again. They have a chance at the Super Bowl, so I feel like this is the perfect situation for me. I can be kind of like how Chris (Long) was the past couple of years. Kind of that fourth edge rusher."

Again, way to garner another Eagles adjacent headline while Chris Long’s name was in the news, but would a Barwin reunion even make sense for Howie Roseman and company in 2019?

Short answer: Yes, but with an emphasis on the short.

You see, the Eagles do have a quality collection of defensive ends, but outside of Brandon Graham and Derek Barnett, there really isn’t a lot of experience coming off the edge.

Sure, there’s Curry, but he put up easily the worst numbers of his career in 2019 and wasn’t all that much better in 2018 – the year the Eagles won the Super Bowl (three sacks, 18 QB hits, and 42 tackles).

Really, Curry hasn’t been a difference maker since 2014, when he put up his lone five-plus sack season (nine for the record). Yes, he can rush from inside and could be a valuable rotation piece alongside Fletcher Cox, but it’s anyone’s guess how well that will work in this his 31-year-old season.

But unfortunately, if the Eagles were to suffer even a pair of injuries at the defensive end position, the team’s pass rush would be all but depleted.

Will Connor Barwin be a better player than Josh Sweat or Shareef Miller in 2020, 2021, or even 2022? Probably not, but will he be a better player in 2019?

That, my friends, is why this is even a question.

While Miller or Sweat could immediately come in and light it up, developing into Philly’s first homegrown, double-digit sack getter since Trent Cole accomplished the feat back in 2007, they could just as easily come in and struggle from Day 1, a disastrous outcome for the Eagles and their championship hopes.

Next. Chris Long wins Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Award. dark

In a lot of ways, Barwin could serve as a veteran-minimum insurance policy for Jim Schwartz‘s defensive end rotation in the lead up to this absolutely vital season, and based on his comments, that sounds like a role Philly’s favorite hipster would love to fill. Whether he earns 15 sacks, five sacks, or .5 sacks, by signing a one-year contract with the Philadelphia Eagles, Connor Barwin would get to finish out his career on his terms, in his city, with his team. What could be better?