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Report: Jets very interested in Anthony Barr

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NFL: Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings Harrison Barden-USA TODAY Sports

There are only a few days left until teams are officially allowed to open negotiations with free agents, and the rumor mill is starting to heat up.

According to Connor Hughes of The Athletic, the Jets have their eyes on Anthony Barr.

Barr has primarily been a Will outside linebacker in Minnesota’s 4-3 defense throughout his five year career. Contrarily, Adam Gase recently confirmed the Jets will be remaining in a 3-4 base defense.

However, there’s a reason this pursuit makes some sense - Barr could project well to a 3-4 outside linebacker role. He racked up 23.5 sacks as a 3-4 outside linebacker over his final two seasons at UCLA before he was made a top ten pick in the 2014 Draft.

Barr hasn’t had many opportunities to rush the passer in the role he has been playing for the Vikings, but he has been excellent when asked to. According to Pro Football Focus, in 2018 Barr led all linebackers with a 13.8 pass-rushing productivity percentage, accumulating 23 pressures on just 94 pass-rush snaps.

The Jets could see Barr as a pass rushing answer at outside linebacker.

In addition to the pass rushing flashes in small sample sizes, the athleticism has always been there. Barr ran the three cone drill in 6.82 seconds at 6’5, 255 pounds, making him the only player to run it that fast at that height and weight.

This is an interesting pursuit. I’d be very intrigued to see what Barr could do in this presumably more suitable role. However, it might not be the smartest idea to invest big-time money into a player switching positions, and expecting him to be your pass rushing answer.

With all of that said, Barr is a versatile and athletic player who could potentially fit into a lot of different roles. The Jets could envision him pass rushing more often in their defense, but he could also provide versatility that few players on their roster currently offer.

Barr has been an integral part of a Minnesota team that is third in scoring defense since he was drafted, after ranking second worst in the three seasons prior to his selection. It will be interesting to see how highly he is valued on the market, and then if the Jets do end up with him, how they utilize his abilities.

I covered Barr here, in my series of free agent profiles.

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