The Jets are planning to use Barr as an outside linebacker in their 3-4 scheme, the role he played in college, a source told ESPN’s Rich Cimini. He also has the ability to play inside linebacker on first and second down, becoming a nickel rusher on third down.
The last time a Jets outside linebacker reached 10 sacks in a season was Calvin Pace in 2013.
Barr’s arrival gives the Jets four starting-caliber linebackers — Barr and Jordan Jenkins outside, with Avery Williamson and Darron Lee inside. The Jets may look to move on from Lee, a first-round pick in 2016. Lee has fallen short of expectations and he finished last season with a substance-abuse suspension. He has only one year remaining on his rookie contract, and his $1.8 million base salary no longer is guaranteed. The guarantee was voided because of the suspension.
The Jets also could add another edge player if they take Nick Bosa or Josh Allen with the third pick in the draft.
The Vikings opted not to place the franchise tag on Barr, their former first-round linebacker, as the Vikings would incur an estimated $15.7 million cap hit in 2019 with the move, which in turn would have made Barr the highest-paid non-quarterback on the roster.
Barr, 26, was the first draft pick during coach Mike Zimmer’s tenure, taken ninth overall in 2014. He transitioned from a 3-4 outside linebacker at UCLA, where he totaled 23.5 tackles from 2012 to 2013, to a 4-3 strongside linebacker in Zimmer’s defense.
Though Barr’s role transformed in Minnesota, his pass-rushing prowess remained fluid over the past five seasons, during which he notched 13.5 sacks and 31 quarterback knockdowns.
A nagging hamstring injury limited Barr to 13 games last season, which was his fewest since his rookie season. He notched a multi-sack game with two against the Miami Dolphins last season but also finished with a career-low 55 tackles.
Named to four straight Pro Bowls after a breakout year in 2015, Barr was one of four Minnesota players eligible for a contract extension last offseason. Instead, the offseason came and went without the linebacker signing a new deal, thus forcing him to play out his fifth-year option in 2018.
Although Barr expressed an interest to stay in Minnesota when asked about his pending free agency, the linebacker routinely doubled back on his natural strengths as an outside linebacker tasked with rushing the passer.
ESPN’s Courtney Cronin and Rich Cimini contributed to this report.