The NFL is a high-profile career, with a lot of money involved, but there are still normal human emotions involved when it comes to changing jobs.
It’s rare for someone to break an agreement made during the two days that NFL teams can contact free agents. Free agents agree to switch teams, financial numbers are reported through various media outlets, and just about every time those deals become official on the first day of the NFL’s league year when contracts can be signed.
But linebacker Anthony Barr changed his mind. On Monday night he agreed to go to the New York Jets, who reportedly offered more money than the Minnesota Vikings, his first and only NFL team.
Then, he didn’t feel good about it.
Anthony Barr says it was like he was about to ‘marry the wrong woman’
Barr was on NFL Network explaining his choice, which is rare but understandable.
“It was mostly when I hung up the phone after saying, ‘Yeah I can do New York,’” Barr told NFL Network, via NFL.com. “My stomach dropped, I kind of get some cold sweats.
“It was like you're about to go down the altar and marry the wrong woman. I think I'm making a bad choice. I did what I felt was right for myself.”
Contracts couldn’t be signed until the free agency period began Wednesday afternoon, so Barr wasn’t locked into anything.
Barr had said before free agency started that he wanted to stay with the Vikings. He had spent five seasons with them, and made four Pro Bowls. It’s a big change to move from Minnesota to New York. He presumably has many relationships in Minnesota, including his teammates and coaches there.
The Vikings came back with a better offer, reportedly still not more than the Jets, but enough for Barr to stay. There’s value in happiness as well.
“And we were able to figure it out,” Barr said on NFL Network. “So I made a commitment to my heart, to myself, to my team and I'm happy to be back here.”
Barr wanted to stay with Vikings
Barr’s change of heart probably still won’t sit too well with the Jets, who thought they had landed a key linebacker and had to change course, or Jets fans. Barr signed a five-year, $67.5 million deal with the Vikings.
Anyone should appreciate the loyalty, however. Barr talked on NFL Network about coming to the Vikings when they were down, and helping lead a turnaround. Minnesota made it to the NFC championship game two seasons ago. He wanted to continue to build something, and not leave his life in Minnesota behind either. It doesn’t sound like his decision had much to do with the Jets.
“I wanted to be a Viking,” Barr said on NFL Network. “It's the team that drafted me five years ago. It’s home. I've done a lot of stuff in the community with my foundation. My teammates are my family, this coaching staff has done so much for me not only as a person, but as a player.”
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