This news comes with a catch, however. The Pro Bowl pass rusher will file a grievance to be tagged as a defensive end rather than a linebacker, Schefter adds. The defensive end tag comes in at $17.8MM; the linebacker price is $15.8MM. The Buccaneers use a 3-4 scheme that aligns Barrett at outside linebacker.
Regarding the chances of Barrett landing a long-term deal with the Bucs by the Wednesday deadline, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com notes the sides are not close on terms (Twitter link). The Bucs are still pursing a Barrett extension, however, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com tweets. This will be a busy stretch for much of the league, ahead of the July 15 deadline. Fifteen teams used their franchise or transition tags; none of those have reached extension agreements.
Considering Barrett emerged from four-year Broncos role player to the NFL’s leading sacker, in a season in which he smashed Warren Sapp‘s 20-year-old Bucs single-season record, the gap in value makes sense. Prior to Barrett’s 19.5 sacks last season, his previous single-season high was 5.5.
Barrett, 27, signing his tender ties him to a Bucs team that has received a bit more hype this offseason. In addition to Tampa Bay’s Tom Brady addition, the team brought back Jason Pierre-Paul and Ndamukong Suh after tagging Barrett. A year after he signed for just $4MM, Barrett will be locked into at least a $15.8MM salary for 2020.
Grievances or grievance threats are common for pass rushers, with the tag system not categorizing edge defenders equally. Players who play as 3-4 outside linebackers are grouped with off-ball ‘backers, dragging the tender price down, while defensive ends reside in their own category.
It is possible the Bucs could reach a compromise with their breakout edge presence. The Texans and Ravens each agreed to meet in the middle, settling on numbers in between the linebacker and D-end tags with Jadeveon Clowney and Matt Judon, respectively. The Ravens agreed to pay Judon $16.8MM this season.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.