There were points in the past week when it was unclear whether Anthony Barr would accept a restructured contract or if the linebacker would be traded by the Vikings to create more salary-cap space. On Sunday, a day before the NFL’s legal tampering period for teams to talk to free agents opened, Barr decided the former was better than the latter.
Barr, who missed all but two games last season because of a torn pectoral muscle, was working toward a restructured contract that reduces his $12.3 million salary but will make him a free agent in 2022, according to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler. Barr had been under contract through 2023 and was due to carry a $15 million salary-cap hit this season. The Vikings would have saved $7.263 million by cutting or trading him but taken a $7.8 million dead cap hit.
Barr, who will turn 29 on Thursday, was the ninth overall selection in the first round of the 2014 draft by the Vikings. That made him the first player picked under coach Mike Zimmer. He has 15 sacks, 36 tackles for losses and 38 quarterback hits in seven seasons. Barr has played all 16 games only twice in his career.
The Vikings had been in discussions with teams last week about possibly trading Barr, if he had refused to rework his contract. Barr was believed to have balked at the idea of restructuring before agreeing to the move.
NFL free agency and the new league year will open at 3 p.m. Wednesday, but moves will (unofficially) start to get done on Monday with the teams and players able to begin discussions.
Barr becomes the latest Vikings player to restructure or be cut to get the team under the cap and create room for moves to be made. The Vikings also restructured punter Britton Colquitt, clearing $1.4 million in cap space, and released left tackle Riley Reiff ($11.75 million off the books) and kicker Dan Bailey ($1.7 million off the books).
The Vikings entered the day with $9.364 million in cap room, according to the Over The Cap website. The Barr move should give the Vikings around $14 million in cap space. That could increase if safety Harrison Smith receives a contract extension and defensive tackle Shamar Stephen is let go. Releasing Stephen would create $3.75 million in cap savings.
The Minnesota Vikings and LB Anthony Barr are working on a restructured contract that reduces his $12.3M salary but makes him a free agent in 2022, per sources. This helps Minnesota’s cap while getting Barr — who had three years left on his deal – two years closer to free agency
— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) March 14, 2021