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NFL Free Agency: Eagles release DE/OLB Connor Barwin, but should the Packers call?

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Another veteran pass-rusher is on the market, and he could be a useful piece in a rotation in Green Bay.

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Over the last several weeks, we at Acme Packing Company have speculated about the possibility of edge rusher Connor Barwin becoming available on the free agent market. The 30-year-old Barwin is coming off a five-sack season in 2016, when he shifted from outside linebacker to defensive end as the Philadelphia Eagles switched from a 3-4 defense to a 4-3.

APC first mentioned him early in the preseason, when we included him in a breakdown of potential cap casualties who could intrigue the Packers. Then a few weeks ago, there was speculation about Barwin being on the trade market, with the Packers as a possible suitor.

Today, Barwin was officially released by the Eagles, making him a street free agent and eligible to sign with any NFL team immediately. As a result of his release, Barwin would not be included in any compensatory draft pick calculations for the team that signs him.

That alone might make him an intriguing player for the Packers, but his familiarity with the 3-4 defense (and his past production therein) would add to the possible fit and value in Green Bay. His finest season arguably came in 2014, when he recorded 14.5 sacks and earned a trip to the Pro Bowl.

Barwin was scheduled to make nearly $8 million next season in Philly, who wipe away all but $600,000 from their salary cap with the move. APC estimates that Barwin could end up earning something in the $4-5 million per year range on his next deal. Although the Packers have reportedly agreed to a new contract with Nick Perry, adding a veteran like Barwin would be a big step towards solidifying the team’s pass rush in 2017.