A big headline dropped late Monday as it was reported that Anthony Barr, the first pick of the Vikings under head coach Mike Zimmer, would be leaving Minnesota and signing with the New York Jets.
Adam Schefter of ESPN first reported the news.
Former Vikings’ LB Anthony Barr intends to sign with the NY Jets, per league source. Jets get a pass rusher.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 12, 2019
Barr, 26, was the Vikings first-round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft (#9 overall). A raw athlete coming out of UCLA that had only played two seasons on the defensive side of the ball, Barr was ultimately shaped into one of the best outside linebackers in the league.
Barr started 71 games in five seasons as a Viking. As the team’s starting Sam linebacker for the past five seasons, the captain didn’t exactly tear up the stat sheet but he developed into a valuable asset for the defense. Barr had 13.5 sacks 1 interception and 22 passes defended in purple.
After having his 5th-year option picked up for over $12 million in 2018, Barr and the Vikings were unable to come to terms on a contract extension. Rather than using the franchise tag on Barr for $15.4 million, the team chose to let the linebacker walk. Now, the Vikings should be able to recoup a substantial compensatory pick for losing him in free agency.
In terms of finding his replacement, Eric Wilson will likely take the job for now. The Vikings could also look to the draft to find someone seen as a long-term solution. Here’s a few more options we discussed last weekend.
He wasn’t always a fan favorite, but it’s still tough to lose someone who’s been a staple of the defense for such a long time. You really hope that with so much time to prepare for this possible scenario, the team has a solid plan in place to fill the hole left by Barr.
As expected, he will reportedly move to full-time pass rusher (off the edge) for the Jets.