The Jets have been starved for a pass rusher for years. The team that gave fans the “Sack Exchange” has been searching for a dominant rusher since John Abraham left after the 2005 season.

Antwan Barnes, who signed with the team in March, says the search is over.

“I know for sure I can be that guy,” the outside linebacker said recently.

Barnes knows because he had 11 sacks two years ago for the Chargers. Barnes got a chance to play after the Chargers had some injuries and made the most of his opportunity. But the Chargers did not reward him with a starting job. Instead, they drafted linebacker Melvin Ingram in the first round and signed Jarret Johnson. That left Barnes watching from the bench for most of last season.

“I just think we had too many guys,” Barnes said. “It was hard to spread all the plays around to all the guys. They just pretty much trusted the guys they had starting instead of going to the bench and letting guys come off the bench and make plays.”

According to Pro Football Focus, Barnes played 483 snaps in 2011 and just 189 last year (he also had a hamstring injury). His sack total went from 11 to 3.

“I was very surprised,” Barnes said of his limited playing time. “But I saw it coming because we drafted a guy and brought a guy in, too. You knew they were going to have those guys up first. You could see it coming. Here (in New York), they didn’t draft anyone so you feel more comfortable now that I’ll go out here and play.”

Barnes played for Jets coach Rex Ryan with the Ravens in 2007 and 2008 when Ryan was the defensive coordinator. Barnes, 28, said he believes in Ryan more than the coaching staff in San Diego.

“It was different in San Diego as far as using your best players,” Barnes said. “Rex knows his players and he knows what they do best and he tries to put them in position to do their best.”

He said Ryan’s defense came back to him quickly and Ryan is the same coach he remembers from Baltimore … with one difference.

“The only thing that’s different is he lost weight,” Barnes said. “Other than that he’s pretty much the same.”