Antwan Barnes played his first two seasons under Rex Ryan with the Baltimore Ravens. Two years ago in the middle of Nnamdigeddon, the Jets quietly tried to sign Barnes from the Chargers as a situational pass rusher. He ended up remaining with San Diego on a two year contract. Now he is a free agent again.
Barnes was used this year by the Chargers as purely a situational pass rusher. He was rushing the quarterback on three quarters of his snaps. He only had 3 sacks, but that belies his real production. Barnes only had 140 rushes. More significantly, he affected the play through either a sack, a hit, or a pressure on 11% of his rushes. That is a pretty solid number for a secondary pass rusher. He was over 16% in 2010 and 2011, which is the kind of rate the best players put up. Barnes' job is easier than elite pass rushers since he sees the field on passing downs and doesn't have to account for the run, but he is still capable of getting after the quarterback.
A year earlier, Barnes saw more regular playing time and had 11 sacks. He held up reasonably well in other areas of the game, but he is best used as a guy who plays on passing downs. You want to keep him rested and his snaps down so he can go all out attacking the quarterback.
Barnes would not be the edge rusher the Jets are searching for. Given their current outside linebacker mess, he might well end up getting snaps on non-passing downs, but he's really a complimentary part. The Jets have gone to the scrap heap looking for a situational pass rusher from Jamaal Westerman to Aaron Maybin to Ricky Sapp types. Barnes could be a solution to bolster the pass rush at a cheap price.