One of the Jets' most intriguing offseason additions is OLB Antwan Barnes, who is reunited with Rex Ryan after a five-year hiatus. If the Jets get the Barnes of 2011, when he recorded 11 sacks for the Chargers, their sagging pass rush will step up in class. If they get the '12 Barnes -- only three sacks -- it'll be disappointing.
Barnes, 28, said he feels revitalized because of his familiarity with Ryan and his system, and because he senses a huge opportunity.
"There's no limit to what I can do this year," Barnes said last week.
Barnes played under Ryan with the Ravens in 2007 and 2008. He said the Jets tried to sign him during the post-lockout free agency period in the summer of 2011, but the Chargers needed an answer quickly and the Jets wanted him to hang tight because they were involved in the Nnamdi Asomugha bidding. Where have we heard that song before?
In 2011, Barnes posted terrific numbers. In 273 pass-rushing opportunities, he racked up 11 sacks and 29 quarterback hurries, according to ProFootballFocus.com -- one hurry per 9.4 rushes. In 2012, his playing time dropped considerably. The Chargers used a first-round pick on OLB Melvin Ingram and signed OLB Jarret Johnson, reducing Barnes' role. Barnes also missed some action due to a hamstring injury. He finished with only 140 pass rushes, three sacks and 10 hurries, per PFF -- one hurry per 14 rushes.
Barnes should get plenty of chances with the Jets. Even though he's not starting in the base defense -- Calvin Pace and Quinton Coples are the OLBs -- he's working with the No. 1 nickel package as a situational rusher.
"This is a great opportunity for me because they didn't go in the draft and try to find somebody," said Barnes, who signed a three-year, $4.05 million contract. "That gives confidence to me and Quinton to go out there and be pass rushers."