Former UC Bearcat Connor Barwin visiting Bengals
Last week, the Philadelphia Eagles cut veteran defensive end Connor Barwin. Now, the Cincinnati Bengals are hosting the University of Cincinnati product for a visit. The news was first reported by ESPN NFL Insider Adam Caplan.
Barwin was cut by the Eagles as a cap casualty, reportedly saving Philadelphia $7.75 million.
Barwin was a one-year starter at Cincinnati but racked up 10 sacks in his senior year. He was drafted in the second round in 2009 by the Texans. In three seasons with Houston, Barwin had 18 sacks and was a part of the Texans club that beat the Bengals in back to back postseasons in 2011 and 2012. His first career sack came at the expense of the Bengals, dropping Carson Palmer in Houston’s 28-17 win at PBS in 2009.
He got his pay day in 2013, signing a six-year, $36 million deal with the Eagles. Barwin’s best season was in 2014 when he led the NFC in sacks with 14.5.
Over the last two seasons with the Eagles, Barwin had 84 combined tackles, two forced fumbles, and 12 sacks.
A good fit in Cincinnati?
Barwin made the transition to a 4-3 defense with the Eagles last season. He was used as an edge rusher and outside linebacker and could fit in with Paul Guenther‘s 4-3 unit.
Last year, he graded as the 100th edge rusher by Pro Football Focus. That ranked five spots higher than Bengals’ defensive end Michael Johnson and three spots behind Will Clarke.
Signing Barwin would definitely fit Cincinnati’s recent pattern of signing veterans to minimal deals. In 2013 it was James Harrison, then A.J. Hawk in 2015, and Karlos Dansby last season.
Whatever the case, Cincinnati would love to improve its pass rush. Outside Carlos Dunlap and Geno Atkins 17 combined sacks in 2016, no other Bengal had more than four sacks.
Johnson has been underwhelming since signing a four-year, $20 million contract to come back to Cincinnati in 2015. In two seasons, he has 8.5 sacks and three forced fumbles.
Barwin has shown durability during his eight-year career. The only time he didn’t play a full 16-game slate was in 2010 when an injured ankle suffered in the season-opener kept him out the entire season.