A disruptive defensive line. A shutdown cornerback and a couple of rangy safeties. Linebackers who can tell when something is going wrong. For the first time in years, the New Orleans Saints defense looks like a pro-quality unit. They’re winning games and making up for the usually-elite offense’s goofs, like forcing a quick three-and-out after each of Drew Brees’ first-quarter interceptions against the Green Bay Packers last week.
But I want more. Things are Fun right now, but they haven’t reached Peak Fun. Drew Brees hasn’t had his regular “yeah, I’m a first-ballot Hall Of Famer, and if you don’t believe it watch me throw this ball over them mountains” game to shred some poor defense for 400 yards and as many touchdowns. This Saints team is playing well, but it’s fair to say that they haven’t truly hit their stride.
So what can they do have even more Fun, and do More Fun things? Looking at the roster, I’d say the only missing piece is a blue-chip linebacker. Craig Robertson can run guys down and hit them, and A.J. Klein is multitasking between getting everyone lined up and watching his own responsibilities, but the unit definitely lacks a top-end talent. So I’d like to humbly request the Saints torch their future and go after Minnesota Vikings all-star Anthony Barr.
Healthy Anthony Barr is a special linebacker. Nice to see him in his groove again. pic.twitter.com/RuFlpxnVXx— Derrik Klassen (@QBKlass) October 23, 2017
Barr remains one of the most well-rounded athletes to come out of UCLA, running a 4.66-second 40-yard dash and 6.82-second three-cone drill at 255-pounds. He plays violently and loves to run into people at high speed, which is a great quality to have in a linebacker. He could really solidify the linebacker position in a way that nobody else can as the strongside backer.
Barr is cut from the same cloth as Denver Broncos All-Pro Von Miller and Oakland Raiders superhero Khalil Mack (both guys Saints defensive coordinator Dennis Allen has worked with before) as a talent who can put a hand down and rush the quarterback on third down. You could also think of him as a similar player to New England Patriots/Cleveland Browns turncoat Jamie Collins. Regardless, I love watching Barr play football, and you should, too.
What’s more is that Barr might be available at the right price. If Barr is on the Vikings’ roster next March, his fifth-year option triggers and he will receive a fully-guaranteed $12.3-million to play in 2018. The Vikings run two-deep at every defensive position and can still win games this year without him.
None of the guys they expect to play quarterback (Sam Bradford, Teddy Bridgewater, or Case Keenum) have contracts running through next year, so they’ll need to pay someone to throw the football. They’re the rare team where Barr is actually something of a luxury.
Anthony Barr ruins Tevin Coleman's big run. https://t.co/JQW4TAUjMp— Chris Burke (@ChrisBurkeNFL) November 29, 2015
What do you think? Should the Saints keep thing running smoothly ahead, or try cooking with gas in pursuit of a young, elite talent at linebacker?