Running back and returner Kenjon Barner is now a member of the Philadelphia Eagles.
The team announced that it sent a conditional seventh-round pick in 2015 to the Carolina Panthers in exchange for the second-year all-purpose man:
ESPN's Adam Schefter notes there are conditions to the deal:
RB/KR Kenjon Barner needs to be on Eagles’ 46-man active roster for at least four games for a 7th-rd pick to be sent to Carolina.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 20, 2014
The Panthers selected Barner in the sixth round of the 2013 draft. In his only season with Carolina, the 25-year-old appeared in eight games, rushing for seven yards on six carries and returning two kicks for 17 yards.
Although Barner has done little on the field so far in his NFL career, he could potentially be a nice situational option in Philadelphia. If anybody knows how to properly utilize his talent, it's his old coach at Oregon, Chip Kelly.
Kelly said he plans on potentially using Barner both in the backfield and in the return game, per the Eagles' official site:
Kenjon will hopefully bring some depth to both our running back and return positions. He’s obviously a guy I know really well from Oregon, where he had a very productive career. He has a lot of speed, explosiveness and had a knack for making some really big plays. But our plan with him right now is get him in Philadelphia as soon as we can and plug him in at running back and returner and let him compete.
Bleacher Report's Ty Schalter wonders if Barner will be able to navigate his way toward the top of Philly's depth chart:
I really liked Barner coming out of college, desponded at how buried he'd be in Carolina. Of course, he's also buried in Philly, now, but...— Ty Schalter (@tyschalter) August 20, 2014
CBSSports.com's Will Brinson thinks the trade might have been an act of mercy:
"Conditional 7th round pick" = "he was going to get cut"— Will Brinson (@WillBrinson) August 20, 2014
In four years at Oregon, the former Ducks running back ran the ball 582 times for 3,623 yards and 41 touchdowns. He also averaged 22.5 yards on 61 kick returns.
This deal won't alter the landscape of the league or automatically make the Eagles the top team in the NFC East. But Philadelphia gave up very little to get Barner, and he could play a specialized role in the offense this season. That's not a bad trade-off.
Kelly's previous experience with Barner could be the spark he needs to revitalize his NFL career.