When the Viking handed Kirk Cousins his massive contract, they knew future roster decisions would get tough. Minnesota has to make a call on Anthony Barr.
Anthony Barr doesn’t make any secret of his desire to stay with the Minnesota Vikings for the long haul. To do that, he’s going to need a contract extension. Unfortunately for the talented linebacker, that hasn’t materialized yet for him this summer.
Minnesota will face a series of tough financial decisions in the aftermath of the gigantic contract they provided Kirk Cousins. His addition gives the Vikings a strong chance to make a Super Bowl run this season, but it’s going to make it very difficult to maintain other stars in the future. It’s possible Barr could become the first casualty of the Cousins deal.
Barr feels like he deserves a new contract, but accurately points out that it’s “on” the Vikings at this point. There isn’t anything else he can really do to force the team’s hand. He’s been a productive player during his four seasons as a professional. Even more impressive is the fact that Barr hasn’t missed a game since 2015. He’s not only productive, he’s also extremely durable.
The questions the Vikings have to ask themselves is whether or not he’s a dynamic enough player to sign to a big contract. This season is the last of his rookie deal and he’ll be making just over $12 million. It’s safe to expect Barr will want a higher average annual salary in a new contract.
That’s a significant cash outlay for a linebacker that doesn’t make a ton of flash plays. Barr is a very solid tackler, but he isn’t a particularly gifted pass rusher. He’s never had more than four sacks in a single season. Ideally, the Vikings coaching staff would like to see him push double-digits in that category.
That’s really the only way things are going to work out for Barr in Minnesota. If he can turn into an above-average pass rusher the team will likely make him a competitive contract offer. That, combined with his excellent run defense would make him one of the most complete linebackers in football.
If he can’t make that happen, look for the Vikings to spend their money elsewhere. Players like Danielle Hunter and Stephon Diggs will also be looking for big money contracts soon. Replacing their playmaking abilities would be more challenging than finding another solid linebacker via the draft or free agency.
Barr is putting pressure on the Vikings with his words, but he needs to focus on putting pressure on quarterbacks instead. That’s the only way he’s going to get the money he wants in Minnesota.