Derek Barnett's role with the Philadelphia Eagles was set to become different. The former first-round pick hit free agency but ultimately returned to the team in a two-year, $14 million contract that saw Josh Sweat take away his starter spot. Barnett isn't the most popular player in Philadelphia but as a backup, he does have some qualities.
But his season has been derailed now that he suffered a torn ACL and will miss the rest of the 2022 season, leaving the Eagles short in defensive end depth but ending what could've been a good season to prove his worth to the franchise even though he failed to meet expectations as a first-round pick.
It sucks for Barnett that he's not going to be able to play again this year. While he should be totally healthy for 2023, this was the best opportunity he'd have to leapfrog any of the starters again. Now, Tarron Jackson is set to become the first backup to Sweat and Brandon Graham, the two starters. Jackson is a former sixth-round pick but the expectation is that Philadelphia will explore someone to compete with him for the top backup job.
The Eagles have one of the best defensive lines in the NFL, with the aforementioned Sweat and Graham being two above-average players. Its interior is also impressive, with Fletcher Cox, Javon Hargrave and Jordan Davis making for three really good guys defending against the run. With a 'next man up' mentality, the Eagles should find themselves feeling good about the defensive line sooner than later.