Shaquil Barrett

AFC North Notes: Browns, Bengals, Steelers

David Njoku currently resides on the Browns‘ IR list, but for the time being, the third-year tight end has a chance to return in 2019. Njoku has opted not to have surgery on his broken wrist, Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports. The earliest Njoku could return would be for the Browns’ Week 12 game against the Dolphins. Cleveland has 2019 additions Demetrius Harris and Ricky Seals-Jones in place atop its tight end depth chart. The Browns must decide on Njoku’s fifth-year option by May of 2020.

Here is the latest out of Cleveland, along with other AFC North cities:

  • The Browns’ defense is facing more pressing matters. Both Denzel Ward and Greedy Williams pulled hamstrings during practice Thursday, per Cabot. They missed the Rams game. Interestingly, reserve safety Sheldrick Redwine pulled a hamstring that day as well. The Browns played without their four secondary starters — Ward, Williams, Damarious Randall (concussion) and Morgan Burnett (quadriceps). However, Cabot adds that Randall is out of concussion protocol. Burnett was questionable last week. Hamstring injuries are obviously tricky for skill players and those charged with covering them, but Cleveland’s safeties seem in line to return for Week 4 against the Ravens.
  • While no one obviously expected Shaquil Barrett‘s virtuoso start, only two teams even submitted contract offers this offseason. In addition to the Bucs’ one-year, $4MM deal, the Bengals also offered Barrett a contract, Jenna Laine of ESPN.com notes. Barrett visited the Bengals but did not meet with the Bucs before his agreement. A four-year backup in Denver, Barrett sought a starting role in free agency. He’s found one, and his eight sacks through three games match an NFL record. It’s early, but the former UDFA who began his career at a now-defunct Division II program is putting himself in position for a major payday — either via Bucs extension or as a 2020 free agent.
  • The Bengals worked out some defensive backs on Tuesday. Cornerbacks Greg Mabin, Picasso Nelson and Deatrick Nichols joined corner/safety Briean Boddy-Calhoun in auditioning for the team, per the Houston Chronicle’s Aaron Wilson (on Twitter).
  • The Steelers auditioned tight end Alize Mack, according to Howard Balzer of BalzerFootball.com (on Twitter). Vance McDonald was present Tuesday with his arm in a sling, pointing to Pittsburgh suddenly needing help at this position.

Contract Details: Ingram, Suggs, Kendricks

Here are the latest details from some agreed-upon contracts during the second wave of free agency. All links courtesy of the Houston Chronicle’s Aaron Wilson, unless otherwise noted.

Buccaneers To Sign Shaq Barrett

The Buccaneers have agreed to sign Shaquil Barrett, as Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times tweets. It’s a one-year deal for the Bucs and the former Broncos linebacker.

Barrett drew some interest on the open market and met with the Bengals on Thursday. Ultimately, he wound up in a warmer climate. The UDFA success story, though, did not land a long-term deal. He agreed to a one-year, $5MM Bucs contract, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets.

The Broncos discussed a new deal with Barrett, but he aimed for more playing time this offseason. At the end of last season, Barrett publicly declared he wanted to be a full-time starter in 2019.

“I want to start. I want to be a guy somewhere. I don’t want to just be a role player,” Barrett said. “I can’t do it. … Reserve role is done for me, unless that’s the only role I got after this year. But that’s not what I’m looking for going into free agency,” Barrett said at the time.

Barrett put himself on the map with 5.5 sacks in 2015. He hasn’t been able to replicate that production since, mostly due to lack of playing time, but the Broncos thought highly enough of him to put a second round tender on him last offseason.

While Barrett’s sack numbers are not eye-popping, he was one of the better run defenders at his position during his Denver years. He became a more reliable cog than former first-round pick Shane Ray, and this continued in the duo’s contract years — Barrett being the Broncos’ top off-the-bench option and Ray ending his season as a healthy scratch.

This move crystallizes the Broncos’ need for edge help off the bench, with the team’s run of depth at this position ending with this signing, the Bucs have a proven defender that could perhaps push for a starting role in Todd Bowles‘ 3-4 defense. Jason Pierre-Paul remains on the Bucs’ roster but has never functioned as a 3-4 outside linebacker, a role in which Barrett has played exclusively. Tampa Bay also released Vinny Curry earlier this offseason.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Shaquil Barrett To Visit Bengals

The Bengals are looking for pass-rushing help. Cincinnati is hosting outside linebacker Shaquil Barrett on a visit later today, a source told Michael David Smith of ProFootballTalk.com.

Barrett is testing the open market for the first time since entering the league as an undrafted free agent back in 2014. He signed with the Broncs originally, and has spent the last five years in Denver. The last we heard was that the Broncos “have had good conversations” with Barrett’s agent, so it certainly seems like he isn’t ruling out a return to Denver.

But Barrett has made it clear he’s looking for more playing time, and he might be able to find it in Cincinnati. At the end of last season, Barrett publicly declared he wanted to be a full-time starter in 2019.

“I want to start. I want to be a guy somewhere. I don’t want to just be a role player,” Barrett said. “I can’t do it. … Reserve role is done for me, unless that’s the only role I got after this year. But that’s not what I’m looking for going into free agency,” Barrett said at the time.

Barrett spent his rookie season on the Broncos’ practice squad, then burst onto the scene in 2015 with 5.5 sacks. He hasn’t been able to replicate that production since, mostly due to lack of playing time, but the Broncos thought highly enough of him to put a second round tender on him last offseason. With the Broncos’ staple of pass-rushers, Barrett was never going to be an every down player in Denver. Last year Barrett played right around 25% of the defensive snaps, and was also a key player on special teams.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Broncos Rumors: Amos, Barrett, Paradis, James

Here’s the latest on the Broncos, with all links going to Troy Renck of Denver7’s Twitter:

Shaquil Barrett Seeking Starting Role

At full strength, the Broncos feature one of the deepest edge-rushing groups in the NFL. That appears set to change going into 2019.

Both Shaquil Barrett and Shane Ray are headed for free agency. Ray has been a healthy scratch the past two games, and Barrett no longer has intentions of being a backup. The UDFA success story said (via The Athletic’s Nicki Jhabvala, on Twitter) he will be eyeing a team that will give him a starting role. With Von Miller and Bradley Chubb entrenched as Broncos starters, Barrett’s probably about to play his final game as a Bronco on Sunday.

I want to start. I want to be a guy somewhere. I don’t want to just be a role player,” Barrett said. “I can’t do it. … Reserve role is done for me, unless that’s the only role I got after this year. But that’s not what I’m looking for going into free agency.”

Barrett has never been a high-end sack artist, but then again, the Colorado State product has not enjoyed a consistent starting opportunity. A plus run defender, Barrett may still receive a chance to start in free agency. Pass rushers Jadeveon Clowney, Dee Ford, DeMarcus Lawrence, Frank Clark and Ziggy Ansah are slated for free agency. Only Ansah figures to be a lock to reach the market. Teams annually retain top-tier pass rushers, opening the door for players on Barrett’s level to cash in.

Brandon Graham, Trey Flowers, Brian Orakpo, Bruce Irvin, Preston Smith, Markus Golden and Clay Matthews do make 2019 an interesting year to need a pass rusher. Some of these players will reach free agency. Barrett has seven sacks over the past two years and did start nine games in 2017 but played behind DeMarcus Ware and now Chubb for full seasons as well. Denver slapped a second-round RFA tender on Barrett this year.

The Broncos have Barrett, Ray, Matt Paradis, Bradley Roby and Jared Veldheer among a deep group of UFAs-to-be. The only way it appears Barrett will cycle back to Denver is if his market underwhelms.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Broncos’ Jeff Heuerman, Shaquil Barrett Suffer Injuries

The Broncos have climbed back into the AFC wild card race after consecutive wins, but their most recent victory saw key contributors go down.

Both Jeff Heuerman and Shaquil Barrett suffered injuries during the Broncos’ 24-17 win over the Steelers, and in the tight end’s case, that will mean an IR trip. Heuerman has broken ribs and a bruised lung and is out for the rest of the season, Mike Klis of 9News reports (on Twitter). Vance Joseph confirmed Heuerman, whom Klis notes broke three ribs, is done for the year.

Barrett, used as an off-the-bench pass rusher, will be out for a few weeks because of a hip flexor issue, Klis adds.

While the Broncos have a deep group of edge defenders, they are now quite thin at tight end. Jake Butt is already on IR. Matt LaCosse, who scored his first touchdown Sunday, will be the next man up. Klis adds (via Twitter) the Broncos are expected to promote Temarrick Hemingway from their practice squad.

A fourth-year tight end out of Ohio State, Heuerman’s delivered his best season since arriving in Denver as a third-round pick. Injuries and inconsistency previously ailed Heuerman, but he’d become a steady option for Case Keenum since the trade of Demaryius Thomas. Heuerman caught 18 passes over the past three games and has 281 receiving yards this season. This, though, will be a tough blow for his value. A free agent-to-be, Heuerman only has 49 career catches for 564 yards and four touchdowns in four seasons.

The Broncos hope Barrett, also a contract-year player, will miss only two games, Troy Renck of Denver7 tweets. He was one of this year’s top restricted free agents, and the Broncos applied as second-round tender to their 2014 UDFA find. A plus run defender in a high-end pass-rushing group, Barrett has three sacks this season. Denver still has 2015 first-round pick Shane Ray as a key second-string edge rusher, and UDFA Jeff Holland resides on its practice squad.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Broncos LB Shaq Barrett To Sign Tender

Broncos linebacker Shaquil Barrett will sign his restricted tender on Monday, according to Troy Renck of Denver7 (on Twitter). Barrett will earn $2.914MM in 2018, per the terms of the tender.

[RELATED: Broncos’ Matt Paradis Signs RFA Tender]

The Broncos now effectively have all of their RFAs in the fold after center Matt Paradis inked his tender on Friday morning. League-wide, there are now only three restricted free agents who have yet to sign their tenders: Falcons cornerback Ricardo Allen, Chargers receiver Tyrell Williams and Chiefs defensive end Rakeem Nunez-Roches.

Barrett has been a key rotational player for Denver over the last three seasons. He has performed well against the run and the Broncos did not want to risk losing him by using the low-level tender on him this offseason, which would have been cheaper, but only would have granted the team the first right of refusal.

In the coming months, the Broncos may look to extend Barrett before he begins his contract year.

 

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Broncos Give Shaquil Barrett Round 2 Tender

The Broncos are protecting two RFAs at the second-round level this offseason, with Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post reporting (via Twitter) the team placed the second-highest available tender on Shaquil Barrett.

This comes minutes after Matt Paradis was tendered at the Round 2 level. Like Paradis, Barrett will make $2.914MM if he plays on the tender this season.

Barrett has not been an every-week starter like Paradis but has served as a key rotational presence over the past three seasons. The former UDFA was the player the 2015 Super Bowl champion iteration of the Broncos turned to to replace DeMarcus Ware while he was injured, and he’s been one of the better run-defending outside linebackers since that season.

While three years younger than Paradis despite coming into the league at the same time, Barrett isn’t as surefire an extension candidate because of Shane Ray‘s presence. The Broncos used both Ray and Barrett as Von Miller‘s top complements last season after Ware’s retirement, and the franchise must decide on Ray’s fifth-year option by May 3. Barrett, though, has been the more consistent player despite Ray’s first-round status.

It could become an either/or situation as to which Miller supporting-caster is extended, but for 2018, both are under contract.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Broncos’ Shaq Barrett Could Play Week 1

At one point this year, the Broncos feared that Shaquil Barrett would miss the bulk of the 2017 season. Today, they have reason to believe that the edge rusher will be able to suit up for the season opener. Shaquil Barrett (vertical)

[RELATED: Broncos Name Trevor Siemian Starting QB]

Barrett was removed from the non-football injury list on Tuesday, according to the team’s latest edition of the roster. Apparently, Barrett has bounced back well from his hip injury and will be able to resume football activities this week.

The linebacker will now practice with an eye on suiting up for the team’s opening game against the Chargers on September 11. Failing that, he’ll hope to be ready in time for Week 2 against the Cowboys (September 17) or Week 3 against the Bills (September 24). Barring any unforeseen setbacks, the Broncos will probably have him on the 53-man roster to start the season. Otherwise, the Broncos would have to keep him on NFI for the first half of the season.

When Barrett takes the field for Denver, he’ll likely be the team’s top reserve option to spell Shane Ray and Von Miller. The Broncos are also keeping their fingers crossed when it comes to Ray since he is dealing with a torn ligament in his right wrist that could sideline him for the start of the season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.