Buccaneers To Release OLB Shaquil Barrett

In need of retaining several key members of their 2023 team, the Buccaneers have a few likely salary cap casualties. One of those has long been believed to be outside linebacker Shaquil Barrettand he is indeed set to see his time in Tampa Bay come to an end.

The Buccaneers will release Barrett, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports. The two-time Super Bowl winner was owed an option bonus of $15.04MM on the fifth day of the new league year. Rather than absorbing that cap charge, Tampa Bay will cut bait after Barrett’s five-year run with the team.

This move will come in the form of a post-June 1 release, Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times confirms. Taking that route will allow the team to spread out Barrett’s $26.67MM dead cap figure across two seasons. The Bucs will be hit with $9.27MM in dead money in 2024 and $17.4MM next year. They will save $4.9MM in cap space for this season, but only after June 1.

Barrett recently admitted he was likely to be released this offseason given his burdensome cap hit. The 31-year-old was owed $17MM in 2024 and he was due to carry a cap hit of $14.19MM, along with a charge of $29.43MM in a void year in 2025. One of many Bucs veterans to have their contracts restructured in recent years, Barrett’s release will be part of the process of Tampa Bay clearing out financial wiggle room in the post-Tom Brady era. The modest cap savings will not be available during the opening wave of free agency, but it will still help as the team aims to retain important members of the squad which went to the divisional round of the postseason.

Baker Mayfield, Mike Evans and Antoine Winfield Jr. are each pending free agents (although the latter is likely to receive the franchise tag). A new contract for Mayfield in particular will be an expensive priority, given his success in his debut Tampa season. Barrett, by contrast, delivered underwhelming totals in 2023 despite managing to play in 18 combined regular season and playoff games coming off an Achilles tear the previous season. The two-time Pro Bowler posted 4.5 sacks in 2023, after recording three in eight contests the year prior.

Those totals mark a stark contrast to Barrett’s 19.5 sacks in 2019. That figure led the league and set a single-season franchise record. The Colorado State product also delivered four sacks in the 2020 postseason to help Tampa Bay win the Super Bowl that year; after a 10-sack campaign the following season, though, things have not gone according to plan. Barrett will now turn his attention to free agency in the hopes of regaining his previous form in a new environment.

The Buccaneers, meanwhile, will move forward with an inexpensive edge contingent including the likes of Anthony NelsonJoe Tryon-Shoyinka and YaYa Diaby. The latter finished tied for fifth in Defensive Rookie of the Year voting after he delivered 7.5 sacks in 2023. Another investment along the edge via the draft could be in play for Tampa Bay, or the team could dip into the secondary free agent market if sufficient funds for a Barrett replacement exist. Entering today, the Buccaneers had $43.68MM in cap space with a slew of major financial decisions still to make.

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