Barnes comes to New York after spending the last three seasons playing on a tough San Diego Chargers team. He is entering his seventh year as an NFL linebacker and has tallied over one hundred tackles in that span. His best year came in 2011 when Barnes recorded 41 tackles that included 11 sacks and two forced fumbles. His breakout performance included a game against his old team, the Baltimore Ravens. During the game Barnes managed to bring down Joe Flacco four times and elevated him to near starting status for the Bolts. While at Florida International, he was a 2006 All-Sun Belt conference player and holds his school record for sacks at 22.
Primarily a player that specializes in the pass-rushing, Barnes has the ability to become a starting player for the Jets. The team is short on outside linebacker help and Barnes will have to compete against Garrett McIntyre and Ricky Sapp and is more than capable of beating out the two linebackers for the top spot on the depth chart. Rex Ryan has stated that he wants to improve the all-important pass rush. Barnes is the kind of player that can bring quarterbacks to the ground and keep pressure on pocket passers.
Expect Barnes to be the starter come Week 1 of the regular season. He is a seven year veteran who has paid his dues. Despite being on his fourth team in seven years, Barnes could very well find a home under the bright lights of MetLife stadium. While his production took a dip after his breakout year in 2011, Barnes is now reunited with Ryan who was his defensive coordinator when the two were in Baltimore. Barnes should be able to elevate his game and become a mainstay on the roster. Barnes should break his personal records in all stats. Expect him to tie or break his single season sack totals and force key turnovers that could swing momentum back into Gang Green's favor.
John Idzik and Woody Johnson did a great job with signing Barnes to a multi-year deal. His low cap hit puts the Jets in a low risk situation that could result in great on-field rewards. They need all the help they can get in the pass rush department, so Barnes was worth a shot in that regard. Being in a new city should work wonders for Barnes' game and as the season progresses, fans should grow accustomed to seeing flashes of brilliance from the Miami native.