The Los Angeles Rams made a surprising move ahead of the beginning of the new league year.
The Rams released linebacker Mark Barron, who was set to make $8 million in 2019. Barron carries a dead cap value of $2 million.
Barron signed a 5-year, $45 million deal with the team in 2016 and ended up playing three seasons for the club. He had 60 tackles and a sack for the team last season and missed the first four games due to an ankle injury.
A former first-round pick by Tampa Bay, Barron will likely find a new team quickly.
Through the first six weeks of the NFL season, several popular names still lead the fray when it comes to defensive production. However, key injuries to superstars like J.J. Watt have created a void that has been filled by some surprising players, many of whom are having career years.
Here’s a look at each NFL team’s best defensive player so far in 2017.
Arizona Cardinals — Tyvon Branch, S
There are a lot of talented defenders on Arizona’s roster, but through six weeks, it’s hard to argue that Tyvon Branch — who has been called a “wolverine” complement to the “honey badger” — isn’t the very best. He not only leads the team and is tied for the league lead with 55 tackles, but he’s also defended four passes, forced a fumble and was named to the Pro Football Focus First Quarter All-Pro Team. Branch getting the nod says a lot about his impact this season when you consider Arizona also has Chandler Jones and his six sacks.
Atlanta Falcons — Deion Jones, LB
Deion Jones has filled out the box score this year, leading the Falcons with 38 tackles. He’s also recorded a sack, three passes defended and an interception. Jones is also among Pro Football Focus’ top 15 graded linebackers this season, alongside teammate De’Vondre Campbell, who has also landed very high grades for Atlanta. Jones is blossoming well for Atlanta in his second NFL season.
Darrelle Revis will be wearing an unfamiliar jersey when he kicks off the 2013 season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but he will reportedly be wearing a familiar number thanks to his incredibly deep pockets. Last season, the Bucs’ No. 24 jersey was worn by safety Mark Barron. Now, the Bucs’ website lists Barron as No. 23. Revis had a lot to do with that.
“A well-placed source tells me that the amount Darrelle Revis paid to Mark Barron in order to get Barron to give up No. 24 was — get this — $50,000,” Lukas said Tuesday. “Is that a record? Is it not even close? Has anyone been tracking these uni number transactions over the years?”
Revis is scheduled to earn nearly $15 million between salary and bonuses with the Bucs this season, so he can certainly afford that kind of scratch. That being said, $50,000 is still $50,000. Most of us would be lucky to make around $50,000 in a year, let alone paying that amount of money for something as trivial as a jersey number.
Revis and Barron aren’t the first players to strike a deal for a jersey this offseason, but Patriots safety Adrian Wilson got off much cheaper in his agreement with Kyle Arrington. Barron would have been stupid to not take that deal.
When overgrown men take the field on hot summer days, tempers have a tendency to flare. Fights are a common occurrence across NFL training camps, some of which we hear about and most of which he don’t. Last week, Buccaneers defensive tackle Brian Price left the team with an excused absence. According to Bucs website JoeBucsFan.com, his departure came after he punched rookie Mark Barron in the head.
As is typically the case, the fight was reportedly over something extremely dumb. Price — who has somewhat of a history with losing his temper –thought Barron was sitting in his seat so he told the rookie to get up. Barron supposedly said something vulgar to him at that point and the two began arguing. That led to the punch, which did not seriously injure Barron.
Unlike the sucker punch we told you about in Lions camp about a month ago, Price has a fairly legitimate excuse for having a short temper. The 23-year-old lost his sister to a car accident last month and is reportedly going to adopt her children. He also lost both of his brothers to gunshots growing up, so to say Price has had a troubled past would be an epic understatement. The excused absence was likely given so Price could be with his family, and I’d be shocked if any disciplinary action came from the Bucs over the incident with Barron.