Shaq Barrett wanted to get paid in NFL free agency and also sought an opportunity to win another Super Bowl. Now, the prized edge rusher is getting everything he asked for in a return to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
After winning Super Bowl LV, Tampa Bay quickly went to work to bring its stars back together. After re-signing Pro Bowl linebacker Lavonte David and placing the franchise tag on star receiver Chris Godwin, another one of the team’s impact defenders will be returning to the fold next season.
Just minutes into the start of the legal tampering period before free agency opens, the top free-agent edge rusher has seemingly made his decision.
NFL free agency rumors: Shaq Barrett re-signs with Tampa Bay
Related: Top 20 NFL free agents of 2022
ESPN’s Josina Anderson first reported word of Barrett’s return, with the outside linebacker texting that he is headed back to Tampa Bay. According to Adam Schefter, Barrett is signing a four-year contract worth $72 million, including $36 million fully guaranteed.
When the offseason began, the Buccaneers were in a tight spot financially and had several key players they wanted to bring back. Fortunately, many of their biggest stars stepped up to help the organization out with deals that allowed the front office to re-sign Barrett.
David’s new contract carries a low cap hit, thanks to the inclusion of voidable years in the contract. As a result, Tampa Bay could spread out his signing bonus over multiple seasons and that lessened his cap figure for the 2021 season. Tom Brady helped the club even more. By signing a four-year extension with the Buccaneers, with the final three years voidable, the future Hall of Famer freed up $19 million in cap space for the front office to use.
Barrett’s $18 million average annual salary matches that for Detroit Lions defensive end Trey Flowers, making them the seventh-highest-paid edge rushers in the NFL. In terms of fully guaranteed money, the $36 million is the eight-most given to a pass rusher.
While he didn’t match the 19.5-sack season from 2019, Barrett was still outstanding for the Buccaneers in 2020. He recorded 16 quarterback hits, 11 tackles for loss and eight sacks in 15 games. He also received a 75.8 pass-rush grade from Pro Football Focus, behind 77 total pressures in the regular season.
With Shaq Barrett off the board, teams needing a pass rusher will have to turn their focus to the likes of Carl Lawson and Bud Dupree. While both have injury concerns, they should land life-changing contracts on the open market.