Anthony Barr said he had to “follow the heart” back to Minnesota

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When the agent for Vikings free agent linebacker Anthony Barr got on the phone to tell his client about a five-year, $75 million deal with the Jets, it was supposed to be a celebration.

But Barr didn’t see it that way, with immediate hesitation that led him to back out on the deal a day later and return to the Vikings.

Agent Ryan Williams told ESPN that he could sense Barr’s lack of enthusiasm over what appeared to be a winning lottery ticket.

“He said, ‘I feel like I just made the worst mistake of my life,'” Williams said.

Because the negotiations happened during the tampering window, Barr couldn’t sign anything anyway until Wednesday. So after the Jets made their offer, which seemed agreed upon, Barr’s second thoughts led his agent to ask the Vikings for a last-ditch chance to keep one of their defensive cornerstones, which came in that Monday night. Tuesday would be decision day.

“I was up for all morning, just looking at my ceiling, just looking for a sign,” Barr said. “Talking to everybody, trying to figure something out. . . .

“I was trying to convince myself of something I knew that in my heart didn’t feel right, and I think if you follow the heart, I can live with the results.”

It’s not that Barr’s doing poorly with the Vikings, signing a five-year deal with $67.5 million, with $33 million in guarantees. It’s $1.5 million a year less than he’d have made in New York, but that didn’t stop a family celebration that included margaritas, tacos, and tears.

“It happened the minute he said I’m going to go back [to Minnesota],” his mother Lori said. “There were tears. It was pure elation — relief, appreciation, feeling valued, feeling reconnected. Just a range of emotions but mostly just sincere happiness that he was getting to go back to where he got to start it all and be with the people he loves to be with, with the organization, in a city he really enjoys and has now become his second home. It just really made waiting and not knowing worth it.”

The Jets said they understood the business, and wanted guys who were all-in. And the Vikings benefitted from the time built into the system, for Barr to realize the place he was all-in was the place he already was.

44 responses to “Anthony Barr said he had to “follow the heart” back to Minnesota

  1. Honestly Barr shouldn’t of been paid that much to be played out of position as a 3-4 OLB. It’s a win win, the Jets don’t have to take on that contract and the Vikes get Barr back. People have to realize the NYC market is not for everybody and that doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing.

  2. It may be 1.5M less a year….but when you factor in the extremely high taxes and cost of living in NY, he’ll come out ahead in MN.

    Easy decision. Especially if you’re comfortable and happy where you’re at.

  3. I was so happy when I thought he signed with the Jets. I mean one routine hit from this guy shattered our QB, got our HC fired and made our franchise totally irrelevant for at least 2 years.

  4. It is great to,see that there still,are a few players in the NF L that feel a sense of loyalty to the team that drafted them. This culture of going to the highest bidder has compromised the league. Too many players are fine with jumping from team to team in search of a few dollars more. A Barr deserves a lot of credit for prioritizing his team over the extra$. I hope he retires a Viking!

  5. I think people also underestimate the unknown aspect of the Jets. They just turned over their entire staff. If anyone thinks there won’t be massive growing pains on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball for a year or two, that’s just crazy. That’s not a shot at the Jets. I do wonder whether this same thing happens if it was a team with an established coach and defensive scheme offering him that money if this is the same result.

  6. aarogantrodgers says:
    April 14, 2019 at 9:34 am

    Continuity builds championships!
    ___________

    It’s been a successful formula in Loserville for 58 straight years.
    Lather.
    Rinse.
    Repeat.

  7. I always like to see guys stay with the team that drafted them so I say kudos to Barr for that… but… let’s not anoint him for Sainthood just yet. Out of curiosity, I used an online “cost of living calculator” (the first one that came up in a Google search) to see what you’d have to earn in New York to maintain the same lifestyle as $67,500,000 gets you in the Twin Cities.

    It showed 5 different “metro areas” that include any parts of New York or New Jersey; I’m “Geography Stupid” so I looked at and listed them all. Even in the least expensive “metro area” the cost of living is 13.13% higher than the Twin Cities. The most expensive (Manhattan, of course) is 111.73% higher. YOWCH!

    Here are the five New York areas and what you’d have to earn to equal the $67.5M/year Barr is getting from the Vikings.

    New York-Jersey City-White Plains NY-NJ- Middlesex-Monmouth NJ: $76,361,731.84

    Newark NJ-PA: $79,567,039.11

    New York-Jersey City-White Plains NY-NJ- Bergen-Passaic NJ: $80,886,871.51

    New York-Jersey City-White Plains NY-NJ- New York (Brooklyn): $108,854,748.60

    New York-Jersey City-White Plains NY-NJ- New York (Manhattan) NY: $142,918,994.41

    So instead of making some big sacrifice, Barr is coming out way ahead on this deal… and I’m good with that. I look at it like he’s getting rewarded for doing the right thing and staying with the team that drafted him.

  8. The Vikings had to bring him back. They were losing players left and right. The chaos taking place behind the scenes hasn’t been exposed by players from eight years ago yet and a one-horse “reporter” that still finds those players interesting, so they can play it safe for now.

  9. The guy seems genuine. He likes where he is and was willing to take a few million dollars less to stay in Minnesota. Great for him, good for the Vikings and good for the league.

  10. Mixed feelings about Barr coming back. Decent player but 68 million would have gotten us a great offensive lineman. I’m also expecting the Vikings to continue taking more defensive players in the early rounds of the draft.

  11. The Barr re-signing is just another example of miscalculation on the part of Rick Spielman.
    This one ranks right up there with going into the 2018 season with no QBs under contract.

    For a Viking team, with little to no cap space, Barr was one of the obvious players to let go and replace with cheaper and possibly more effective talent in the draft.
    Not to mention, the team would have pocketed a future compensation pick with the Jets overpaying him as they did.

    Instead, this team is now on the hook for a sizable chunk of money, for an ineffective player, who’s possibly playing out of position.
    And all the while, Spieldope just kicks the financial can down the road a little farther.
    Sooner or later this is all going to catch up with them.
    And when it does, it’s going to hurt. For a while.

  12. Let’s see, my choices are either the Vikings or the Jets? It’s not like either of them are on the verge of winning a Superbowl so that didn’t factor into the decision. If you define trending up by increasing the number of years over the prior year, then it’s the Jets. If you define following your heart by your DC allowing you to play poorly without consequences, then it’s the Vikings.

  13. Minnesota is the place to go for off season Championships.

  14. I, as well as the other NFCN teams, love this signing by the Vikes. The last two kickers they cut are worth more than Barr. As is last year’s third string OT. Love the signing. Rick needs to sign a ten year extension NOW.

  15. Sounds like he made a good decision. I’m sure the familiarity will benefit him as he can just concentrate on being a better player.
    It is fair to wonder if it was a smart move on the part of the organization not to replace him, given a strong draft class at his position. But if the Vikings can solve their offensive line problem in the draft it’s all good. It’s a good draft up front on both sides of the ball.
    A swing and a miss in the draft will really hurt them, but again that could cut both ways. Be interesting to see how it shakes out.

  16. Easy decision. Play for the team you love & the friendly people of Minnesota & still get payed well. If he stays healthy I expect him to play very well this year. I’m jealous, even with the cold winters I’d still love to move back up there-maybe someday.

  17. I think it’s strange that not one Vikings fan noticed that the person in the picture is not Barr. It’s actually Xavier Rhodes. And I’m not even a Vikings fan.

  18. cheeseisfattening says:
    April 14, 2019 at 3:42 pm
    Meanwhile players only follow the money to Green Bay.
    _______

    What an odd thing to say, as it’s obvious to almost everyone but you that the Vikings have shelled out far more money to field their team than Green Bay has.
    But Hey, don’t let pesky facts get in the way of your wrong headed narrative.

  19. djrando7 says:
    April 14, 2019 at 4:53 pm
    I think it’s strange that not one Vikings fan noticed that the person in the picture is not Barr. It’s actually Xavier Rhodes. And I’m not even a Vikings fan.
    _________

    C’mon, Man, cut them some slack, they simply aren’t the brightest fans the NFL has to offer.
    I mean, have you ever listened to them discuss football?

  20. it’s obvious to almost everyone but you that the Vikings have shelled out far more money to field their team than Green Bay has.
    ___
    It doesn’t take a lot of money to pay for a garbage roster BUT evidentially they still have to pay extra bonus money just to get that garbage roster to set foot in Green Bay

  21. So what? So he followed his heart! This is where his heart wants to be, win or lose! He is part of a TEAM, and he doesnt want to leave his TEAM, win or lose. People can talk crap all they want about losing, will never win a superbowl, blah blah!for the person who spent so much time looking up taxes in NY, you need a freaking life man! Barr is who every fan, and teammates want to have, and that is a player DEDICATED to a TEAM, even for less money. Other fans can hate if they want, it doesn’t take away from Barr!

  22. cheeseisfattening says:
    April 14, 2019 at 6:48 pm
    it’s obvious to almost everyone but you that the Vikings have shelled out far more money to field their team than Green Bay has.
    ___
    It doesn’t take a lot of money to pay for a garbage roster BUT evidentially they still have to pay extra bonus money just to get that garbage roster to set foot in Green Bay
    ________

    Oops! You’re right. I almost forgot just how good the Minnesota Vikings truly are.
    It’s definitely been money well spent, after all, you’ve got to lock up all that 8-7-1 talent.
    skoLOL!!!

  23. tinye67 says:
    April 14, 2019 at 9:52 am
    It may be 1.5M less a year….but when you factor in the extremely high taxes and cost of living in NY, he’ll come out ahead in MN.

    Easy decision. Especially if you’re comfortable and happy where you’re at.
    ================================================================================
    I hate to shatter your anti NY mindset, but the income tax rates are higher in MN than NY. MN tops out at 9.85 and NY at 8.82 which doesn’t even matter because neither the Jets or Giants are actually in NY. The stadium, offices, practice facility and every other part of their operations are in NJ. BTW, NJ’s income tax rate tops out at 8.9% and is lower than MN.

    If you are going to dump on NY at least use real facts and not “alternative” facts to make your case.

  24. cheeseisfattening says:
    April 14, 2019 at 6:48 pm
    It doesn’t take a lot of money to pay for a garbage roster BUT evidentially they still have to pay extra bonus money just to get that garbage roster to set foot in Green Bay
    Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    I wonder why both Thielen and Barr have significant workout bonuses included in their recent contracts? The Vikings don’t historically do that, and I was under the impression all Vikings would show up out of gratitude and privilege alone. My guess is the Vikings are doing it…….because they heard the Packers were doing it.

  25. As a Jets fan im so happy both Barr and Cousins turned down Jets massive deals to go sign for the Vikings for slightly less money. Good luck Vikings with your overpaid, above average, but non superstar talents! Id much rather take Darnold and Josh Allen on rookie deals any day of the week.

  26. djrando7:
    —————
    It’s not that uncommon for the picture to not match the article, sometimes it’s from a different team even. Plus the player in the picture has a helmet on and a face shield. Nice try though.

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