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Jets Rumors: Anthony Barr 'Very, Very High' on New York's Radar in Free Agency

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistMarch 8, 2019

Minnesota Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr walks on the field before an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn)
Bruce Kluckhohn/Associated Press

The New York Jets are reportedly interested in pursuing linebacker Anthony Barr when free agency officially opens on March 13.

According to Connor Hughes of The Athletic, the Jets are "very, very high" on Barr. Hughes added that he "wouldn't be surprised" if the Jets offer Barr more money than any other team on the open market.

The 26-year-old Barr has spent the first five seasons of his NFL career with the Minnesota Vikings after getting selected ninth overall in the 2014 NFL draft out of UCLA.

Barr is among the most versatile linebackers in the NFL, and he has been named a Pro Bowler in each of the past four seasons. In 13 games last season, Barr registered 55 tackles, three sacks and one forced fumble.

Perhaps his best NFL season came in 2015, when he registered 68 tackles, 3.5 sacks, three forced fumbles and the only interception of his career to this point.

He usually hovers around 70 tackles with a handful of sacks per season, but he does plenty in both run and pass coverage that doesn't always show up on the stat sheet. Barr is as complete as they come at outside linebacker, and he is precisely the type of player the Jets could use on defense.

The Jets need some pass-rushing help since they don't have a go-to player in that respect, but Barr hasn't developed into the sack artist some expected him to be coming out of college.

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Barr had 23.5 sacks combined over his final two seasons at UCLA, and in five NFL seasons, he has just 13.5 sacks. His career high, which was achieved as a rookie in 2014, stands at four.

Part of the reason why Barr hasn't racked up the sacks is the fact that he is so well-rounded that Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer has used him in other areas. Also, with players like Everson Griffen and Danielle Hunter excelling at getting to the quarterback, Barr hasn't had to do it as much.

As Peter Bukowski of Pro Football Weekly pointed out, the stats say Barr is a quality pass-rusher despite the lack of sacks:

Peter Bukowski @Peter_Bukowski

Anthony Barr's ranking among LBs in QB pressures since he was drafted 9th 6th 9th 16th 5th Tell me more about him not being able to rush the passer.

If the Jets sign him and turn him loose in that regard, Barr has the ability to register double-digit sacks.

He would also be a huge help to a Jets defense that ranked 26th against the run last season, and he would instantly lend credibility to a front seven that is somewhat pedestrian aside from Leonard Williams and has three key free agents in Henry Anderson, Brandon Copeland and Steve McLendon.

With key edge players such as DeMarcus Lawrence, Jadeveon Clowney, Frank Clark and Dee Ford being retained by their teams via the franchise tag, signing Barr represents the Jets' best chance to improve on the edge in free agency.

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