The prospect of teams using both franchise and transition tags remains in play, though there is a better-than-average chance of the owners’ CBA proposal being ratified and preventing such a path. This would impact the Buccaneers considerably.
Having said for months they plan to keep Shaquil Barrett, the Bucs are preparing to use their franchise tag on the 2019 breakout pass rusher, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports notes. Bruce Arians pointed to this path, unless an extension can be agreed upon, Greg Auman of The Athletic writes (subscription required).
Barrett registered a Bucs-record (by a considerable margin) 19.5 sacks last season, topping his total from four Broncos campaigns. Nevertheless, the 27-year-old sack artist — who is open to giving the Bucs a discount, based on Florida’s lack of a state income tax — will not hit the market. This complicates Jameis Winston‘s status, as he appears behind Barrett on the Bucs’ priority list.
Tampa Bay remains uncertain about its future at quarterback, but the team may well view Philip Rivers as an upgrade on the interception-prone passer. The Bucs are interested in the 16-year Charger/new Florida resident, with La Canfora adding execs around the league believe the team will get aggressive on Winston if a clear sense emerges that Rivers will not sign there. The Colts have surfaced as key players for Rivers, who worked with Frank Reich and Indianapolis OC Nick Sirianni with the Chargers. But Rivers would be an interesting fit for Arians’ deep-passing attack in Tampa as well.
If teams are permitted to use two tags (and not have one of them vacated by a new CBA passing), Winston appears a strong candidate to receive the transition tag. That price will come in north of $25MM, which is at least $2MM lower than the franchise tag value for QBs.
It could also be down to Rivers or Winston for the Bucs, whom Auman tabs as unlikely to draft a quarterback this year. Tampa Bay holds the No. 14 overall pick.
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