The Washington Commanders have added to their linebacker room by signing Cody Barton from the Seattle Seahawks. Here are five things to know about one of the newest members of the defense.
1. He comes from a family of athletes.
It should come as a surprise that Barton is pursuing a career in professional sports. After all, his family is full of athletes.
Both Barton's parents, Paul Barton and Mikki Kane-Barton, were two-sport student athletes at the University of Utah. Paul played football and baseball and had a brief stint in the minor leagues with the Toronto Blue Jays. Kane-Barton played volleyball and basketball for the Utes, and she is a member of the Crimson Club Hall of Fame for being a two-time Honorable Mention All-American, the 1993 Western Athletic Conference Player of the Year and a three-time first-team all-WAC basketball pick.
Barton has a brother and sister, Jackson and Dani, and you guessed it; both are heavily involved in sports. Jackson was a seventh-round pick by the Indianapolis Colts in 2019 and last played for the Las Vegas Raiders in 2022. Dani plays for the United States women's national volleyball team and was a three-time AVCA First-Team All-American for the Utes.
All that success is a lot to live up to, but Barton has done a good job of it so far.
2. He was a four-year contributor at the University of Utah.
Barton was a standout player at Brighton High School, earning all-state honors as a defensive back with 72 tackles and three interceptions. He received three Division I offers, but he decided to follow the rest of his family and commit to Utah. And just like the rest of his family, Barton made his mark on the school.
Over the course of his four seasons with the Utes, Barton played in 50 games with 23 starts. Most of his highlights came during his senior year, when he started the entire season and led the program with 116 tackles. That earned him an Honorable Mention All-Pac-12 nod, as he hit career highs in nearly every metric.
His favorite memory, however, was the first and only interception he secured against UCLA.
"I remember it from tape, jump it, pick, just like I envisioned it in my mind. It was clear as day," Barton told Seahawks.com. "To me, that was the most memorable because that whole week, I just kept talking about it like, 'this play is going to happen. They're going to come out in this formation, and I'm going to pick this route.' Sure enough, it came through."
3. He took on more responsibility with the Seahawks last season.
The Seahawks went through a massive transition at linebacker last season with Bobby Wagner being released prior to the 2022 season. That left players like Barton, who only had a handful of starts in his career, to step up and prove themselves.
For Barton, that meant wearing the green dot and being the primary play caller for the Seahawks' defense.
"I don't really feel pressure. I'm ready for the challenge," Barton told The Seattle Times last season. "I've been ready for a while and I'm just excited to run with it."
Barton got more starts in 2022 (11) than he did in the previous three seasons combined (5) and more than tripled his previous career-high in tackles (37) with 136 stops. Barton was tied for the 15th most solo tackles in the 2022 regular season. In the playoffs, Barton recorded nine tackles and a pass breakup against the San Francisco 49ers.
Barton also had two sacks, two interceptions and six pass breakups -- all personal bests in his professional career. So, Barton has shown that if a team invests in him, he will live up to the expectations.
4. He's a rancher.
The Commanders have all kinds of interesting people in their locker room, but a rancher was not among them. Well, they can now add that to the list with Barton joining the team.
Barton and his brother, Jackson, help their family tend to a ranch in Duchesne, Utah, which is about 90 miles from their hometown of Park City, where the Bartons tend to chickens, turkeys and thoroughbred horses. Barton also wrangles calves, which can weigh 100 pounds each, to help stay in shape during the offseason.
"Workin' cows. Just workin' cows," Cody Barton told The News Tribune. "Flankin' calves...branding calves. Just having fun."
No wonder Barton was so good at corralling running backs last season.
5. He's excited to prove himself with the Commanders.
Barton wanted to sign with a team that would allow him to flourish as a MIKE linebacker, and while the Commanders were not initially on his radar when he first entered free agency, they wanted to give him an opportunity to live out that goal.
"I feel I play my best ball at MIKE, and I feel most comfortable at MIKE," Barton said. "I take pride in being smart on the field and being in control of things and communicating."
Barton likes how he could fit in with his new team. He's a fan of the scheme, and he knows the team's history of having solid linebackers. And the more he listened to Commanders' vision for him, the more he felt that it was the right decision to join the Burgundy & Gold.
Washington has needed help at linebacker, especially with the loss of Cole Holcomb to the Pittsburgh Steeler. Barton believes he has the skill set to elevate the position, and he is excited to see what he can add to a defense that was third in yards allowed last season.