Thought it took a little longer than many anticipated and, likely, at a far smaller offer than anyone ever would have guessed, outside linebacker Connor Barwin is now a former Houston Texans, per Houston Chronicle writer Tania Ganguli and Barwin himself via Philadelphia's Boyz II Men.
The 26-year-old Cincinnati Bearcat alumnus leaves after an interesting four years in Houston. Barwin, drafted in the second round of the 2009 NFL Draft, was a rotational defensive end who led all rookie linemen with 3.5 sacks in spot play. After a hyped 2010 offseason, Barwin suffered a gruesome ankle injury in Week One.
2011 would bring about Barwin's best as Wade Phillips stepped in as Houston's defensive coordinator and moved Barwin to an outside linebacker, first at strongside and then weakside after Mario Williams suffered a season-ending injury. Barwin had 11.5 sacks and seven passes defensed. Between that, his Cosmo Kramer hair, and his embrace of Houston's social scene, Barwin became a star in the Space City.
Due to this, the Texans attempted to sign Barwin to an extension in August 2012, but, for whatever reason, talks broke down. Many assumed Barwin would have another big year and be primed for a massive contract as a young pass-rusher, but the Texans appeared to dodge a bullet instead. Barwin had a career-low three sacks and produced very little pressure on quarterbacks. With 35 tackles and five passes defensed, Barwin did little to fill out the stat sheet. Was he playing under pressure? Did J.J. Watt take all the sacks? Was 2011 Barwin a mirage (as some suggest)? Who really knows?
Barwin now heads to Philadelphia to join former Texans DeMeco Ryans and James Casey. The Texans will likely have to add another pass rusher, as Phillips' defenses tend to have three outside linebackers ready to play. Currently, Whitney Mercilus, the 2012 first round pick, slides into Barwin's starting spot.
UPDATE: Adam Schefter tweets that Barwin got a six year deal from the Eagles:
Eagles announced they've reached a six-year deal with former Texans LB Connor Barwin.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 14, 2013
UPDATE II: Jason La Canfora tweets that the six year deal is worth $36,000,000.00, with a chance for Barwin to earn $40,000,000.00. Still no word on exact amount of guaranteed dollars as of yet:
Strong deal for Connor Barwin in Philly - 6 years, $36M, with the chance to earn a max of $40M including guarantees.— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) March 14, 2013
UPDATE IV: Wow. Adam Caplan says only $8,000,000.00 of Barwin's deal is guaranteed:
$8 M guaranteed for Barwin, source confirmed.— Adam Caplan (@caplannfl) March 14, 2013