If you didn’t like Barr before, you will after reading this
Barr took pay cut for the most honorable reason imaginable
At not even 30 years old, Minnesota Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr feels utterly ancient on a roster that averages out as the second youngest in the league. The reason the Vikings are so young is multi-faceted, but one of those facets has been a lack of cap space that forced the team to show some of Barr’s defensive peers the door.
Players like Linval Joseph, Anthony Harris, Xavier Rhodes, and Trae Waynes have all moved on while Barr almost left for more money with the New York Jets and then changed his mind at the 23rd hour a few off-seasons ago.
That wasn’t the only time Barr took less than what the market dictated he was worth as he took a $2.9 million dollar cut this past Spring to set up what appears to be his last season in purple after a season that was massively shortened by injury.
But why? Why not look at the fact that a contract under 30 is a lot more valuable than one over 30? Especially if the pay-cut wasn’t a pre-cursor for a larger or longer term deal?
Because, according to an interview with the Star Tribune, Barr didn’t want his career in Minnesota to end with the 2020 season being what the fans remembered of him.
“I kind of didn’t want to go out like that, I didn’t want my last game being the one in which I got hurt and then missing an entire year. I didn’t want that to be my last memory as a Minnesota Viking, so that played a big factor in returning and taking the pay cut to be back with this organization.”
Now, Anthony Barr may not be the most popular player on the roster. Many fans think he’s mediocre at best, that he tends to coast, he’s been overpaid, etc.
But it’s hard, if not impossible, to knock him for his loyalty to this franchise in an era where many players are doing the exact opposite. That doesn’t mean that the player empowerment movement is wrong or selfish. For what these guys put their bodies/minds through they should wring every cent out of their careers as they can.
But when you hear Barr say that he didn’t want us fans to remember him that way? It’s something worth noting and respecting as it means that he cares about his legacy, sure, but also about coming through for the organization and fans that drafted and (mostly) supported him.
Let’s hope that the 2021 season allows Barr to end his time in Minnesota in the best way possible, not just for the fans, but also for a guy who has shown that he clearly wants to do whatever he can to repay the team while enhancing his legacy. There’s one thing that could do both and having a healthy Barr gives the Vikings a much better shot of achieving that.
So, hats off to Barr.