Anthony Barr really compared signing with Jets to marrying wrong woman originally appeared on nbcsportsboston.com
The AFC East has been the division of spurned suitors lately.
First, it was Antonio Brown reportedly nixing a trade to the Buffalo Bills to join the Oakland Raiders instead. On Tuesday afternoon, it was Anthony Barr pulling a Josh McDaniels on the New York Jets, changing his mind after accepting their offer in free agency the night before and opting to re-sign with the Minnesota Vikings.
Barr publicly addressed his 180 on Thursday afternoon, explaining the decision with an analogy that’s pretty depressing for Jets fans.
“I had conversations with my agent and my family trying to figure out what we were going to do. … It was like OK, I think we can do New York,” Barr told NFL Network’s Andrew Siciliano. “I said that and I hung up the phone and I instantly just didn’t feel right, it just didn’t feel right. Something just didn’t feel right. In my heart, I knew I wanted to be, all along I’ve been saying it for the last year and a half as I’ve gone through this process, I wanted to remain a Viking.”
“It was like you’re about to go down the altar and marry the wrong woman. I think I’m making a bad choice. I did what I felt was right for myself.”
We can understand Barr’s last-minute objection. Sure, the Jets signed running back Le’Veon Bell, but they’ve won five or fewer games in three straight seasons and haven’t sniffed the playoffs since 2010. With the defending champion New England Patriots atop the heap, the AFC East power structure likely isn’t shifting anytime soon. Barr also has spent his entire career in Minnesota and feels loyalty to the team that drafted him.
That means it’s back to the drawing board for the Jets, who may have landed a keeper in Bell but let another one get away in the four-time Pro Bowler Barr.
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Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr has added to his enemies list.
Two seasons ago, he garnered the ire of Aaron Rodgers and Packers fans when he landed on the Green Bay QB after a legal hit and knocked Rodgers out for much of the 2017 season.
This offseason? Barr had agreed in principle to join the Jets as a free agent, only to reverse course and stay with the Vikings.
Jets CEO Christopher Johnson was asked about Barr during the league meetings, which started Sunday. Johnson made it clear he wasn’t happy about how things went down, though he couched his disappointment.
“We want people on our team who want to be New York Jets,” Johnson said, according to the New York Daily News. “Not everybody wants to be in New York. If he didn’t want to be here, that’s fine. It’s disappointing when someone backs out on an agreement, but we want people who are all-in.”
The Vikings played the Jets in 2018 and aren’t slated to play them again until 2022, so I imagine whatever bitterness exists now will have dissipated by then.
Vikings coach Mike Zimmer says a lot of that is Barr doing the greater good for the team and opening things up for his teammates.
“A lot of that is him sacrificing himself for being able to have other guys be able to be free on rushes and blitzes and things like that. That’s why he’s such an unselfish guy,” Zimmer said Thursday. “We understand that no team that we play is ever going to say, “We’re not going to worry about Anthony Barr.” That’s part of it, and sometimes we do it anyway. That’s just part of it. We’re always going to try and scheme the best way to win on that particular Sunday.”
It’s easy to get caught up in the stats sometimes, but there’s likely some truth to what Zimmer is saying. If other teams are game planning to take Barr out, that’s likely opening something up for somebody else.
Then there’s Oakland. The Raiders picked good to great top-5 players in 2014 and 2015. But then they changed management and no longer wanted said good to great players.
But at least they got three No. 1s as part of the deals that unloaded 2014 No. 5 overall pick Khalil Mack and 2015 No. 4 overall pick Amari Cooper.
That’s a heck of a lot more than the discombobulated Giants have to show for two top-10 picks in 2015 and 2016.
Last fall, they dumped 2016 No. 10 overall pick Eli Apple for a fourth-rounder this year and a seventh next year. And this week, they let massive underachiever Ereck Flowers — the ninth overall pick in 2015 — walk. He joined the rival Redskins.
Washington gave him a one-year deal for $4 million. Hardly the second contract you’d expect for a top 10 pick who has yet to turn 25.
Food for thought when discussing Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr and whether his sack stats are flashy enough on one of the league’s top defenses.
In 2014, the Vikings had the eighth overall pick. They wanted Barr. Cleveland wanted cornerback Justin Gilbert bad enough to trade up one spot.
Five years later, Barr has more Pro Bowls (four) than Gilbert had starts (three) in his two seasons with the Browns.