Thursday, March 14, 2013
Barwin exit adds to Texans’ to-do list
By Paul Kuharsky
Personality-wise, Connor Barwin was one of the most affable, likeable guys in all of the AFC South.
Production-wise, after a big drop-off from 2011 to 2012, we’re going to have to wait and see.
Tania Ganguli of the Houston Chronicle reports that Barwin's six-year deal with the Eagles is worth $36 million, with incentives that can lift the value to $40 million. That’s close to what the Texans offered him before the 2012 season, she adds.
That’s a great payday for a guy who will have plenty of chances to rush the passer in Philadelphia’s new 3-4 defense.
The team he left behind had the foresight to draft a first-round outside linebacker last year. Whitney Mercilus didn’t force the Texans to play him as much as the team and player would have liked, but he did get to show off some pass-rushing skill. He will have to fare better against the run.
And Houston will need to draft another outside linebacker, a spot that is a regular restock position for plenty of 3-4 teams. Bryan Braman is a fan favorite for his work on special teams but has not looked comfortable or ready when given a chance on defense.
The Texans got insufficient pass rush from everyone on defense except J.J. Watt last season. Brooks Reed, Mercilus and whoever else lines up on the edge will find plenty of one-on-one matchups they have to win.
It’s unfortunate that the Texans are in a position in which free-agent defections affect what they do in the draft. But losing Glover Quin and Barwin means they have to restock with a safety and an outside linebacker, even if veteran safety Ed Reed joins the team.
They have to have contingency plans for an aging veteran and develop someone for when he’s done.