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Eagles waive Derek Barnett

Derek Barnett
Derek Barnett

This Sunday, defensive end Brandon Graham will set the franchise record for the most regular-season games played by an Eagle. Graham is known for his iconic strip-sack of Patriots quarterback Tom Brady in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl LII, which allowed the Eagles to pad their lead and eventually capture the first Lombardi Trophy in franchise history.

But here's a question for you, who recovered the fumble forced by Graham in the Super Bowl?

The answer is defensive end Derek Barnett, a rookie on that team who helped ensure that Graham's hustle play paid off. That wasn't Barnett's only signature moment of the postseason. In the NFC Championship Game triumph over the Vikings, Barnett had a strip-sack of his own in the second quarter, with the Eagles leading 14-7. The ball was recovered by defensive end Chris Long and the Eagles capitalized with a 53-yard touchdown pass from Nick Foles to Alshon Jeffery to make it 21-7 as Philadelphia scored the game's final 38 points in the rout.

Derek Barnett forced this fumble in the NFC Championship Game victory over Minnesota.
Derek Barnett forced this fumble in the NFC Championship Game victory over Minnesota.

The Eagles announced on Friday that they waived Barnett, the team's first-round pick (14th overall) out of Tennessee in that magical 2017 season. That draft was held at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, fittingly enough.

"The Eagles organization would like to thank Derek for his contributions to this team over the last seven seasons," the team said in a statement. "As a rookie, Derek made one of the most memorable plays in our Super Bowl victory over the Patriots. He has been a great teammate who always played with high energy and effort. We wish Derek nothing but the best."

The 27-year-old Barnett played in 78 regular-season and playoff games during his six-plus seasons in Philadelphia. He accounted for 159 tackles, 37 tackles for loss, 23 sacks, 81 QB hits, and 196 QB pressures. His best season came in 2019, as he started all 14 games he played in while posting 6.5 sacks, 22 QB hits, and 47 QB pressures.

His 2022 season came to an abrupt end after just 12 defensive snaps as he suffered an ACL injury in the opener against Detroit. He returned to play in the first eight games of this season but was inactive for the recent wins over the Cowboys and Chiefs. He had lined up for just 14 defensive snaps in the previous two games, wins against the Dolphins and Commanders. Philadelphia has relied on a predominately three-man rotation with Josh Sweat, Haason Reddick, and Brandon Graham off the edge. Rookie Nolan Smith has contributed a handful of snaps each game.

The Eagles did not announce any corresponding roster moves.

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