Seeking some stability behind Melvin Gordon (knee) following the departure of Danny Woodhead (knee), the Chargers have added Barner to a backfield that includes holdover Kenneth Farrow (shoulder). Barner is less experienced in a lead role than Farrow, who earned two starts down the stretch last season when Gordon was lost for the season with a sprained PCL and hip strain. At the very least, though, Barner's kick-return chops will be valuable after averaging 30.8 yards on his nine attempts with the Eagles during the 2016 campaign.
With Darren Sproles, Wendell Smallwood and Ryan Mathews (for now) already on the roster, Philadelphia decided not to place a one-year, $1.8 million original-round RFA tender on Barner, a 27-year-old scat back who can contribute in the return game. The Eagles might still consider retaining Barnes at a lower price, but he'll at least have a shot to test the waters of unrestricted free agency.
Barner (hamstring) will be a restricted free agent, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.
A 2013 sixth-round draft pick, Barner has displayed occasional usefulness as a change-of-pace runner and return man. He won't garner a first or second-round RFA tender, but the Eagles might use an original-round tender, which would require another team to surrender a sixth-round selection if it signs Barner. The Eagles would also have the right to match any contract. Should he stick around in Philadelphia, the 27-year-old scat back could compete for touches in a committee.
Barner injured his hamstring in Sunday's game against Baltimore and was initially ruled out for just Week 16. With the
Barner was seen walking with a heavy limp following Sunday's loss to the Ravens, when he was forced into an early exit due to a hamstring problem. That injury will prevent him from being ready to play Thursday, and could ultimately keep him sidelined in Week 17 as well. While Darren Sproles (concussion) is expected to be cleared to play this week, Byron Marshall could slide into Philadelphia's No. 3 running back role with Barner out.
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