The New York Giants could soon be adding depth to the linebacker corps. According to Josina Anderson of CBS Sports, free agent LB Anthony Barr is “currently targeting” the Giants for his next visit after completing a visit with the New Orleans Saints this week. Barr is a versatile, aging linebacker who could provide quality depth and leadership to a young Giants corps.
What could Anthony Barr bring to the Giants’ defense?
Barr is entering his 10th season in the NFL after spending 2022 with the Dallas Cowboys. He appeared in 14 games for Dallas, making 10 starts and totaling 58 combined tackles, two tackles for loss, and one sack. Prior to this brief stint with the Cowboys, Barr spent the first eight seasons of his career as a staple in the Minnesota Vikings’ defense. Barr earned Pro Bowl honors for four seasons in a row with Minnesota (2015–2018).
After meeting with the Saints earlier this week, Barr and Big Blue are “working on scheduling a firm date” for his next visit.
Barr could add depth at more than one position
Throughout his NFL career, Barr has played inside linebacker despite playing on the edge in college. The 6-foot-4, 245-pound defensive force has all the physical traits to make an impact as a pass-rusher.
In 2019, Barr agreed to a five-year deal with the New York Jets in free agency before ultimately backing out and re-signing with the Vikings. Interestingly, the Jets planned on utilizing Barr as a 3-4 edge rusher, moving him away from the 4-3 off-ball linebacker position he had played in the Vikings’ defense throughout his career.
If the Giants were to sign Barr this summer, they could utilize his versatility to add depth to more than one position in their defense. Barr could instantly compete for the No. 2 LB job that is currently open, but he could also add depth on the edge behind pass-rushers Kayvon Thibodeaux and Azeez Ojulari.
“EDGE 3” is a position of need for New York. Behind Thibodeaux and Ojulari is a steep drop-off in talent. Barr could be added to the mix, giving Big Blue another capable pass-rusher to inject into their defense.
Could Barr win a starting job with Big Blue?
Second-year linebackers Micah McFadden and Darrian Beavers are currently competing for the No. 2 linebacker job in the Giants’ defense. The team is seeking a second linebacker that can mesh well with Bobby Okereke’s skillset. So far, Beavers seems to be winning the race. But considering the combined lack of experience between McFadden and Beavers, adding a seasoned veteran like Barr to the mix could be beneficial.
He may not be the player he once was, but Barr is still capable of giving an NFL defense quality snaps as a depth piece. In a paper-thin linebacker corps (like the one the Giants possess), Barr could make an impact as a versatile run-stopping, pass-rushing off-ball linebacker.