Shaq Barrett Eyeing Bank-Breaking Payday

On the heels of two dominant games to close out the Buccaneers’ Super Bowl-winning season, Shaquil Barrett is on course for free agency for a third straight year. The Bucs signed him to a low-cost deal in 2019 and franchise-tagged him last year. Barrett is eyeing his long-term payday in 2021.

The Bucs want to keep their standout free agents, but that list is lengthy. Barrett joins Lavonte David, Chris Godwin, Rob Gronkowski, Ndamukong Suh, Antonio Brown and Leonard Fournette as big-name players whose contracts expire in March. Ahead of his age-29 season, Barrett will seek to land his long-sought-after long-term deal.

I’m most definitely looking forward to getting a long-term deal done,” Barrett said during an interview with Sirius XM Radio’s Adam Schein (via “I feel like it’s time for me to break the bank now, and I most definitely want to do that to be able to set my family up better.

I want to be here. I think we got a great team here, a great organization here. So we will definitely go on just to see how it works out and shake up. But I’m looking forward to trying to get something done here.”

A former Division II recruit who transferred to Colorado State when his previous school (Nebraska-Omaha) dropped football, Barrett spent his first NFL season (2014) on the Broncos’ practice squad as a UDFA but became a key role player in Denver from 2015-18. Only the Bucs and Bengals offered Barrett deals in 2019, when Tampa Bay landed him for $4MM. Following his franchise-record-breaking 19.5 sacks in 2019, the Bucs franchised him. Barrett recorded eight regular-season sacks but added four in the playoffs. He registered a season-high eight pressures in Super Bowl LV and hit Patrick Mahomes four times during Tampa Bay’s dominant defensive outing.

Were the Bucs to tag Barrett again, the price would come in at $18.99MM. Six edge rushers average more than that on average, with Joey Bosa and Myles Garrett each securing extensions worth at least $25MM annually last year. Bruce Arians did not guarantee all the free agents-to-be would return, but the veteran head coach is confident the team can keep them.

I spoke to each and every one of them personally. Nobody wants to leave, but we all know it’s a business,” Arians said, via The Athletic’s Greg Auman (subscription required). “I think we’ll be very, very competitive.”

The Bucs managed to keep Barrett, Suh and Jason Pierre-Paul last March, while giving Tom Brady a two-year, $50MM fully guaranteed deal. But Tampa Bay entered the 2020 offseason with more cap space. This year, their space hovers around $30MM — depending on where the cap settles. Arians added that he does not believe Mike Evans will need to take a pay cut to help the team fit the veterans onto its 2021 payroll.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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17 comments on “Shaq Barrett Eyeing Bank-Breaking Payday

  1. TJECK109

    Tagging him will take up half of their current cap space. They are going to have get creative to keep the majority of their FA

    • Toksoon

      No it won’t , you forget they have $30 mil plus available not to mention – they salaries of these guys aren’t included in that number

  2. gcg27

    You have to tag him at that price with one more year of Brady atleast.. Suh will probably be sacrificed at 34 and past prime.. David in defense will be kept.. Fornette will be gone and cheaper backup will be drafted or a cheaper backup like three one the Ravens released.. depth will be an issue in these cases but will still keep team strong for another year.. Brady could even get a 2 year extension at a slighter per year average to save money under the cap to retain free agents. He is playing for Super Bowls now. Not money

  3. dust44

    I’d say David, Godwin, Barrett and Gronk r back. Brown won’t b back unless it’s for a low price again. And I can’t see Fournette coming back, he will get paid. Brate is a waive candidate. Evans stayed hed play for less/convert money. I think they get back who they really want back. Plus u will have some vets take less to come ply with Brady for one last hurrah

    • Ak185

      Probably not Godwin, but the rest may be. Suh isn’t demanding much these days. I could see him weaseling in on a small one year deal as a replacement-not role-wise, but cap-wise.

  4. crosseyedlemon

    Let everyone mentioned walk. Bucs caught a perfect storm scenario this season but it isn’t sustainable. Breaking the bank in hopes of a repeat will cost the franchise dearly.

    • Ak185

      Perfect storm is a great way to put it. If the Saints don’t collapse, do they win? If the Packers don’t refuse to add a single useful starter last season, just one, do they win? If Carl Cheffers doesn’t throw a jillion flags in the Superbowl, do they win?

      This obviously is a purely hypothetical argument (except the Superbowl part, because that officiating was absolutely atrocious), but the chances of this season’s success being repeatable are fairly low to me. Either the Bucs spend forever paying the team they bought to win this year, or they actually build one themselves. They may as well start now, instead of overpaying aging players until they all fall off beyond utility.

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