Houston Texans impending free agent outside linebacker Connor Barwin transitioned well when Wade Phillips joined the Texans as the defensive coordinator and implemented his extremely successful 3-4 defense. Barwin moved from being a 4-3 DE to a 3-4 OLB and looks better in his current position, and he hinted that he has interest in the New England Patriots.
Barwin stated on SiriusXM Radio that he has interest in joining a team with an established quarterback and would like to join a contender, so he wants to be in roughly the same situation he is in with the Houston Texans- he doesn’t want to move backwards in that regard. When asked about taking a discount for playing for that sort of the team- specifically, the New England Patriots- Barwin said, ”That would be nice.”
I don’t think Barwin is the only player who would like to take a pay cut to play for the Patriots, but I highly doubt the Pats would sign him. They could use another pass rushing specialist at DE, but I don’t think Barwin will transition nearly as well as a pass rusher when lined up as a 4-3 DE. He actually had a horrible pass rushing grade from the Pro Football Focus this past season, and that’s because his raw numbers are bloated since all he does is rush the passer in Phillips’s scheme.
The Patriots already have plenty of talent at linebacker, so wondering whether or not Connor Barwin can make it as a 4-3 OLB with the Pats is a moot point since Jerod Mayo and Dont’a Hightower are more than capable starters. Even if Barwin is willing to take a pay cut, I doubt he would take a backup role behind Chandler Jones and Rob Ninkovich in order to play for the Patriots. I would prefer to sign a pass rushing specialist at DE than rather sign Barwin.
I do think the Indianapolis Colts, who could really use a guy like Barwin, should try to pry Barwin away from the AFC South rival Texans. In fact, Barwin has stated the Colts already are trying to get him to Indy and make a huge impact on their defense that sorely needs some talent.
Per Barwin, ”Yeah, they would seem to have a lot of interest. So we’ll see. That would be very interesting. … There’s a lot of factors that would have to come into play to make me do it, but I think that it would be hard to go there and play. But I’m sure they could change my mind with a couple of different things.”
The 26-year-old looked much better in 2011 than he did in 2012 (just four sacks), and Barwin would make a lot of sense for the Colts. However, he does not make much sense for the New England Patriots.
You can follow Joe Soriano on Twitter @SorianoJoe.