Connor Barwin is one of the most underrated outside linebackers in the league and the Philadelphia Eagles have swiped him from the Houston Texans. This is the second day in a row that the Texans have lost a key piece of their defense to free agency as Glover Quin signed a deal with the Detroit Lions on Wednesday.
The Eagles are getting a whale of a player in Barwin who is only 26-years-old but has made his mark on the NFL with 19 career sacks. Houston was on top of the world before dropping three of their last four games prior to heading into the playoffs. After a scare by the Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC Wild Card round, the Texans were simply overmatched by the New England Patriots offense in AFC Divisional playoffs.
Barwin made a big impact in his tenure with the Texans including a team-leading 11.5 sacks in 2011. Although he only had three sacks last season, he still was a staple of consistency playing in 94% of the club’s defensive snaps.
The story is now about the Texans as a team that was a powerhouse in the AFC last season is getting weaker and weaker with players leaving for free agency left and right. Wade Phillips has his word cut out for him with this new Texans linebacking corps which will be made up of Brian Cushing who is returning from a torn ACL and two extremely young players manning the ends. Whitney Mercilus was drafted in the first round of the 2012 NFL draft to be the replacement to Barwin and Brooks Reed will start on the other side after being a second-round pick in 2011.
Houston will have to draft well if they hope to keep replenishing on the defense side, but Barwin and Quin will be missed in 2013.