The Bills parted ways with Nick Barnett today. I wouldn't even kick the tires on this idea under normal circumstances. But for his prowess defending the run, I'd ignore this possibility entirely. But when your team's rush defense DVOA (3.6 percent more efficient than league-average) ranks 20th in the league, it's time to look at your options. Barnett is an option, albeit a potentially overpriced, risky option.
Barnett was due $3.5 million next season, and I'm very opposed to paying him anything near that. I'd hope he's reassessed his value, given that he's now unemployed. He will be 32 before next season starts. Then there's the rumors of a persistent knee injury late in 2012; it didn't keep him out of games, but it definitely limited him in practice.
If were were to sign Barnett, it'd be for linebacker depth. He isn't what he once was - his pass defense in particular has fallen off. But he's still a three down linebacker. He's still a capable NFLer.
Of particular concern, for me, is his decline in 2012. We know he's past his prime. And we know he fell off considerably since joining the Bills. I'm not entirely sure he fits Mike Nolan's scheme, but he's a high character guy. Even so, I'm not too fond of signing guys because of their character, especially when they're aging linebackers in decline.
Barnett is a mixed bag. I'd vote no.