By Adam Aniba
Washington MIKE linebacker Cody Barton is heading to IR after sustaining an ankle injury during the Commanders' 14-7 loss to the Giants in Week 7. Although Barton has 60 tackles thus far, his overall contribution has been minimal.
The former Seahawk linebacker is set to miss at least the next 4 games and the perennial underachiever, David Mayo replaces him as the starting middle linebacker.
Barton will be eligible to return form IR against the Cowboys on Thanksgiving Day. It's conceivable that Barton has played his last game for the Commanders, based on the current trajectory of the team.
Washington put little emphasis on adding top level talent to their linebacker room this offseason, but with the Harris group likely to clean house in 2024, that all could change. What shouldn't change is Kamren Curl being the leader of the defensive backfield.
Curl has been the most valuable and versatile asset on Jack Del Rio's defense. It's Curl's ability to see things on he filed that others don't and that's what separates him from his teammates.
Although the defense has given up a ton of yards and points through 7 games, Curl has been active with 36 total tackles (22 solo), 3 tackles for a loss, 1 sack and 1 QB hit.
In 44 career starts Curl has 328 total tackles (219 solo), 5 sacks, 15 tackles for a loss, 9 QB hits, 1 fumble recovery, 12 passes defended, 1 interception and 1 TD. His stats don't tell the full story of Curl's overall impact and has been the teams best safety since the great Sean Taylor.
WIth a lot of talk heading into the Oct. 31 trade deadline about free agents to be Chase Young or Montez Sweat possibly being traded (CLICK for Story), Curl is the player with the most upside out of all Washington's impending free agents.
The 7th round selection out of Arkansas is a bright spot in a less than stellar draft history for Ron Rivera.
Regardless of the outcome of the remaining 10 games, Curl is scheme versatile and should to be apart of a defense that's likely to have a new look in 2024.