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Free Agent profile: Linebacker Anthony Barr

With three linebackers from 2021 who are now free agents, does the four-time Pro Bowler make sense for Denver?

NFL: Los Angeles Rams at Minnesota Vikings
Eight-year Minnesota Viking Anthony Barr is now an unrestricted free agent but will likely demand a steep price.
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Anthony Barr has had a stellar career to this point. Now, as an unrestricted free agent under a new head coach, the eight-year veteran could be on the move.

The Denver Broncos have three unrestricted free agents at the linebacker position from its 2021 roster, and if they don’t address linebacker early in the 2022 NFL Draft or in free agency, a sizable hole will present itself at the second level of the Bronco defense. However, the scheme that new defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero will run is still relatively unknown, making Barr’s fit in Denver up in the air.

Player Profile

Height: 6-5
Weight: 255 pounds
Age: 29 years old
Experience: 8 seasons

Why it makes sense

Barr, drafted by the Vikings in 2014, was brought in by a front office that included now-Broncos General Manager George Paton — who spent seven years with Barr in Minnesota. If there’s anyone with familiarity about the four-time Pro Bowler and what he brings to the second level of a defense, it’s Paton.

Three linebackers who sported the orange and blue in 2021 are now unrestricted free agents: Kenny Young, Josey Jewell and Alexander Johnson. Even so, Barr, an eight-year veteran, is younger than Johnson and just two years older than Young and Jewell, respectively.

Why it doesn’t make sense

New Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell hinted in a Feb. 17 pressor that he wants to keep Barr in purple and gold for 2022, mentioning him along with All-Pro linebacker Eric Kendricks as second-level players to build around in their new 3-4 defense. This makes it likely that Barr’s price may be driven up by Minnesota’s willingness to keep him around — potentially too high for a Broncos team who’s in the market for a big-name quarterback.

Denver’s midseason pickup at linebacker, now-free agent Kenny Young, might’ve played his way into being resigned by General Manager George Paton this offseason, and likely for a lower price than Barr. Paired with 2021 third-round pick Baron Browning, the Broncos might already have their linebacking core of the future.

Final thoughts

No, Barr shouldn’t be brought into Denver because, in all likelihood, Paton will re-sign at least one of Denver’s free agent linebackers, and Barr’s price will be too steep. Denver could consider it for the right price, but based off O’Connell’s comments, Paton’s desired price likely won’t present itself.


Should the Broncos pursue Anthony Barr in free agency?

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