Shaquil Barrett

Buccaneers Re-Sign Shaq Barrett

Piece by piece, Bucs are keeping the band together. Edge rusher Shaquil Barrett has agreed to re-sign on a four-year deal worth as much as $72MM (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport). The deal includes $36MM fully guaranteed and, remarkably, will carry a minuscule $5.6MM cap hit in 2021. 

As a free agent in 2019, Barrett received tepid interest. Offers came only from the Bucs and Bengals, and Barrett signed a one-year, $4MM Bucs pact. The Bucs tagged him last year, following his franchise-record-setting 19.5-sack season. Barrett will turn 29 later this year and seized his chance to secure a lucrative long-term deal.

Barrett’s rise through the football ranks has been meteoric. He started as a Division II recruit before switching to Colorado State. Then, he turned pro and spent 2014 on the Broncos’ practice squad. By 2015, he found a role in the Broncos’ defense.

After the 2019 tag, Barrett recorded eight 2020 regular season sacks and added four in the playoffs. He also finished on a high note, notching eight pressures in Super Bowl LV.

Barrett’s deal carries a base value of $68MM over the four-year stretch. The other $4MM can be earned off of escalators. If Barrett reached 15 sacks and the Bucs make the playoffs, he’ll add another $1MM to his forthcoming yearly salary. The average value of $18MM/year is solid, though several ticks behind Joey Bosa and Myles Garrett who will have ~$25MM/ year.

The Bucs have been busy this month, re-signing inside linebacker Lavonte David and deploying franchise tag on wide receiver Chris Godwin. They also reached a one-year extension with quarterback Tom Brady to free up additional space — he’ll carry a lighter cap hit in 2021 with voidable years in 2023 and beyond.

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Buccaneers, Shaq Barrett Discussing Deal

The top remaining piece of the Buccaneers’ free agency puzzle would stand to have a big market, were he to be unsigned by March 15. But the Super Bowl champions hope to keep Shaquil Barrett from making it to free agency.

Bucs brass and Barrett have entered extension discussions, according to SI.com’s Albert Breer (on Twitter). The Bucs chose Chris Godwin over Barrett for their franchise tag and just agreed to terms with Lavonte David. They have less than a week to negotiate exclusively with their top pass rusher.

As a free agent in 2019, Barrett received tepid interest. Offers came only from the Bucs and Bengals, and Barrett signed a one-year, $4MM Bucs pact. The Bucs tagged him last year, following his franchise-record-setting 19.5-sack season. The former Broncos UDFA expressed interest in cashing in this year. Barrett will turn 29 later this year and has a prime opportunity to secure a lucrative long-term deal now, especially considering how much his postseason dominance impacted Tampa Bay’s Super Bowl title.

GM Jason Licht indicated recently he wants Barrett back but sounded like it was not a lock he would return. The Bucs were sitting nearly $5MM over the $180MM cap floor before the David deal; they will need to do extensive work in order to re-sign Barrett and keep other members from the Ndamukong SuhRob GronkowskiAntonio BrownLeonard Fournette contingent. Licht has also said he can envision UFA-to-be Blaine Gabbert succeeding Tom Brady one day. Brady, however, is discussing yet another extension. That would help free up funds.

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Latest On Buccaneers, Shaq Barrett

How the Buccaneers proceed with their historic glut of high-profile free agents will be a key offseason storyline. Bruce Arians has said he believes the Super Bowl champions can fit the group onto its 2021 payroll, but Shaquil Barrett is eyeing the type of deal that would make that difficult. It would stand to reason first-time free agent Chris Godwin and some of the others are looking to maximize their earning potential as well.

The Bucs are projected to hold the eighth-most cap space in the NFL, as of Friday. They have Barrett, Godwin, Lavonte David, Rob Gronkowski, Ndamukong Suh, Antonio Brown and Leonard Fournette on track for free agency. Of this group, Barrett and Godwin would be in line to collect the most on the open market.

While the Bucs are prepared to use their franchise tag on Godwin — a prospect that would be cheaper than a second Barrett tag ($18.99MM). GM Jason Licht said the Bucs would certainly be pleased if Barrett returned but stopped there.

I probably won’t touch on that,” Licht said, via PewterReport.com’s Matt Matera, of Barrett’s hopes for a bank-breaking contract. “I’m proud of Shaq. I understand that this is a business and there’s no hard feelings over this. It’s just part of doing business, we’ll see what happens. We’d love to have Shaq back, that’s for sure.”

Barrett has risen from Division II recruit to Broncos UDFA to a player who has recorded 31.5 (counting playoffs) sacks over the past two seasons. Tampa Bay’s top pass rusher will turn 29 in November. The Bucs have Jason Pierre-Paul signed through 2021 but want Barrett and Suh to join him next season. With Myles Garrett and Joey Bosa moving the edge defender market past $25MM per year, it will be interesting to see if the Bucs can keep Barrett from testing the free agency waters.

Matt Judon, Yannick Ngakoue and Bud Dupree join Barrett as franchise-tagged edge rushers back on track for free agency. Judon, who will turn 29 in August, said recently everything would have to line up “perfectly” for him to return to the Ravens. Leonard Floyd, Haason Reddick, Carl Lawson and Trey Hendrickson are also a month away from hitting the market.

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 CBSSports.com). “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.

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Buccaneers Activate LB Shaquil Barrett From Reserve/COVID-19 List

Buccaneers linebacker Shaquil Barrett is expected to be in uniform for this weekend’s Wild Card playoff game against Washington. The team announced today that they’ve activated Barrett from the reserve/COVID-19 list.

We learned last week that linebacker Devin White had tested positive for COVID-19, and Barrett subsequently landed on the reserve/COVID-19 list as a close contact. White’s positive test ultimately sidelined both players for Week 17, and while Barrett will surely be back on the field this weekend, there’s still no definitive word on White’s status (it was initially assumed that he’d miss the contest).

Following a 2019 campaign where he compiled 19.5 sacks, Barrett had another solid showing in 2020. The former undrafted free agent ultimately finished the regular season having compiled 57 tackles, eight sacks, and a pair of forced fumbles.

Barrett was slapped with the franchise tag last offseason. Barring another tag, Barrett should be able to secure a long-term deal as an unrestricted free agent this offseason.

Defensive lineman Steve McLendon was also placed on reserve/COVID-19 list alongside Barrett and White last week. There’s been no update on his status.

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Devin White Tests Positive For COVID-19

Devin White is out for the Buccaneers’ regular-season finale and likely the team’s playoff opener. The second-year linebacker tested positive for COVID-19, according to NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero (on Twitter).

In addition to White being sidelined, the Bucs placed Shaquil Barrett on their reserve/COVID-19 list. As a close contact, Barrett will miss Week 17. As a close contact, Barrett will be eligible to return for Tampa Bay’s wild-card game.

White and Barrett represent two key pillars of the Bucs’ pass rush. Despite profiling as an off-ball linebacker, White has nine sacks this season. Barrett has produced eight. Jason Pierre-Paul (team-high 9.5) will go it alone this week, and the Bucs will face the NFC East champion next week — in all likelihood — without part of their standout inside ‘backer tandem.

The Bucs used the No. 5 overall pick on White last year, marking the first time a team had devoted a top-five selection to a traditional linebacker since the Seahawks chose Aaron Curry fourth overall in 2009. White has worked out better thus far. Though Pro Football Focus has not been especially impressed with the non-pass-rushing elements of White’s game this season, he is far and away the Bucs’ tackles leader with 140. The LSU product has also racked up 15 tackles for loss and 16 QB hits in what has been a breakthrough second season.

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NFC Notes: Barrett, Gregory, Washington

The Buccaneers look to be one of the many teams set to carry a franchise tag number on their payroll this season. Shaquil Barrett and the Bucs were believed to be far apart on terms over the weekend, and the breakout pass rusher expects to play this season on the tag.

I would love to get a deal done. I know they would love to get a deal done. But just the situation of the world right now is making it hard to get a deal done,” Barrett said during an NFL Network appearance (via NFL.com). “So if we get one done, I’m going to be happy. But if not, I’m still happy to be down here for another year and potentially to get a deal done in the future once we do figure out how the season’s going to go and how next year possibly will be.

“I still have some hope for it, but I’m more optimistic for the one-year to get done over a long-term deal.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has clouded the NFL financial picture. Although some teams have come to extension agreements, most franchises have held off. Of the 15 players who received the franchise tag this year, only one (Chris Jones) has reached an extension agreement. With Barrett upping his single-season sack career high from 5.5 to a Bucs-record 19.5, he profiled as a possible “prove it” player. It looks like the sides will huddle up again after the season.

Here is the latest from the NFC:

  • After firing multiple front office execs last week, Washington added some staffers. The team will hire Eric Stokes as its director of pro scouting, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. Washington is also adding longtime scout Don Warren to be its assistant director of pro personnel, Joe Person of The Athletic tweets. Both will come to Washington after years with Carolina, following Ron Rivera in that regard. For Warren, this will be a reunion. He won three Super Bowls with Washington as a tight end and previously served as a scout with the franchise from 2005-09.
  • The Cowboys refuse to give up on Randy Gregory. Despite the Cowboys losing hope he will be reinstated in time for this season, they would like to have the suspended defensive end back in a non-playing capacity for the time being, Todd Archer of ESPN.com notes. Gregory has been suspended four times since entering the league. He has not played since the 2018 season.
  • The Saints should be expected to sign a tackle at some point before the season, Katherine Terrell of The Athletic writes (subscription required). New Orleans has entrenched starters Terron Armstead and Ryan Ramczyk and added ex-Ravens starter/swingman James Hurst this offseason. But the Saints have been proponents of O-line fortification, so it would not be especially surprising to see them further bolster the group. That said, Hurst and interior lineman Nick Easton qualify as solid backups.
  • Perhaps following the Saints’ lead, the Cardinals had former CFL quarterback Chris Streveler sit in on their special teams meetings during the virtual offseason period, Darren Urban of AZCardinals.com notes. While the Cardinals communicated to the Grey Cup-winning quarterback he will not change positions upon moving south, a Taysom Hill-type role may be how Streveler makes the team. Brett Hundley and former UDFA Drew Anderson are the other QBs on Arizona’s roster.

Poll: How Many Tagged Players Will Land Extensions?

A day away from the deadline for franchise-tagged players to sign extensions, the NFL finally saw a player from this year’s group do so. The Chiefs’ Chris Jones extension represents the outlier move thus far. Discounting Jones’ deal, how many more tagged players will sign by the 3pm CT deadline Wednesday?

The 14 remaining tagged players reside in limbo for various reasons — from uncertainties about their career trajectories to the pandemic clouding the NFL’s financial future. There could be plenty of players going through the 2020 season on guaranteed one-year deals, which would both table key negotiations for several months and add to the 2021 free agent market.

Here is how everything looks with the tagged group as of Tuesday afternoon:

Already Signed Tag

*Received transition tag (vs. franchise tag)

Hasn’t Signed Tag, Won’t Hold Out

Hasn’t Signed Tag, Threatening Holdout

More players were tagged this year than in 2018 and ’19 combined. This represents the largest contingent of tagged performers since 2012, when 19 were tagged. That also came in an era when of salary cap stagnancy. After steady cap growth since 2014, the league’s best hope may be for the 2021 cap to plateau. The coronavirus has threatened to keep fans out of stadiums, with limited capacity being the likely best-case scenario. That will cost the league upwards of $3 billion, and the NFL-NFLPA talks about how to manage this have transpired for several weeks without a resolution.

But deadlines, per the cliche, incite action. Will this year be the exception? Are teams willing to carry big tag salaries on their books? Or will they prefer that to signing off on long-term extensions before the cap reality clears up? Vote in PFR’s latest poll (link for app users) and weigh in with your thoughts in the comments section.

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Shaquil Barrett To Sign Franchise Tender, File Grievance

Five days away from the deadline for franchise-tagged players to sign extensions, Shaquil Barrett notified the Buccaneers he plans to sign his tender, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets.

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.

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Status Of All 15 Tagged Players Prior to July 15 Extension Deadline

The clock is ticking for tagged players to sign extensions with their teams, per the league calendar.

July 15: At 4:00 p.m., New York time, deadline for any club that designated a Franchise Player to sign such player to a multiyear contract or extension. After this date, the player may sign only a one-year contract with his prior club for the 2020 season, and such contract cannot be extended until after the club’s last regular season game.

With less than nine days remaining until the deadline, let’s take a look at where each of the 15 tagged players stand.

Already Signed Tag

*Received transition tag (vs. franchise tag)

Haven’t Signed Tag, Won’t Hold Out

Haven’t Signed Tag, Threatening Hold Out