Barrett drew some interest on the open market and met with the Bengals on Thursday. Ultimately, he wound up in a warmer climate. The UDFA success story, though, did not land a long-term deal. He agreed to a one-year, $5MM Bucs contract, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets.
The Broncos discussed a new deal with Barrett, but he aimed for more playing time this offseason. At the end of last season, Barrett publicly declared he wanted to be a full-time starter in 2019.
“I want to start. I want to be a guy somewhere. I don’t want to just be a role player,” Barrett said. “I can’t do it. … Reserve role is done for me, unless that’s the only role I got after this year. But that’s not what I’m looking for going into free agency,” Barrett said at the time.
Barrett put himself on the map with 5.5 sacks in 2015. He hasn’t been able to replicate that production since, mostly due to lack of playing time, but the Broncos thought highly enough of him to put a second round tender on him last offseason.
While Barrett’s sack numbers are not eye-popping, he was one of the better run defenders at his position during his Denver years. He became a more reliable cog than former first-round pick Shane Ray, and this continued in the duo’s contract years — Barrett being the Broncos’ top off-the-bench option and Ray ending his season as a healthy scratch.
This move crystallizes the Broncos’ need for edge help off the bench, with the team’s run of depth at this position ending with this signing, the Bucs have a proven defender that could perhaps push for a starting role in Todd Bowles‘ 3-4 defense. Jason Pierre-Paul remains on the Bucs’ roster but has never functioned as a 3-4 outside linebacker, a role in which Barrett has played exclusively. Tampa Bay also released Vinny Curry earlier this offseason.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.