The Buccaneers are still up in the air as to what they want to do with Jameis Winston, but pass rusher Shaq Barrett is another story. Tampa Bay gave Barrett a one-year, $4M deal shortly after free agency opened last March, but it’s fair to say he’s going to make a lot more than that in 2020 and beyond.
Barrett exploded with an incredible 19.5 sacks in 2019, dwarfing his previous career-high of 5.5, set in 2015. The former UDFA out of Colorado State displayed flashes of pass rushing talent during his five-year tenure in Denver, but only the Bengals and Bucs extended him a contract offer last offseason. Bucs head coach Bruce Arians was obviously thrilled with Barrett’s performance, and Arians recently indicated the team would not let Barrett get away.
Speaking at Pro Bowl practice on Wednesday, Barrett echoed Arians’ sentiments. “I don’t know where it’s going to end up at but I’m confident that I’m going to be where I should be, which I think is Tampa,” Barrett told reporters, including Scott Smith of the team’s official website (Twitter link).
Of course, it’s going to take a highly-lucrative deal to keep Barrett around. He’s in line for a contract paying him upwards of $15M per season with $30M or so in full guarantees, though the Bucs could buy themselves some more negotiation time by hitting Barrett with the franchise tag (depending, perhaps, on what the club elects to do with Winston). The fact that Barrett is also no slouch against the run could drive his price up even further.
Luckily, Tampa Bay will have plenty of cap space to work with, so it would be a shock to see Barrett hit the open market.