Thursday evening, Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker and 2019 NFL sack leader Shaquil Barrett appeared on NFL Network to discuss a plethora of topics with Willie McGinest.
Joining the show from a boat, Barrett made his desire to stay with the franchise who gave him his first shot at starting in the NFL very clear, saying,
“I’m expecting to still be down here in Tampa. I feel as though we both feel that we got a lot of good momentum from last year we’re gonna build on. So, we’re gonna try to work that out and figure out what that’s going to look like but I’m confident I’ll be down here.”
The franchise record-holder in sacks in a single season wants to commit to Tampa long-term, but it may not be in the cards this off-season as the team appears prepared to place the franchise tag on Barrett in lieu of extending the 27-year old before the start of the new league year.
Asked his thoughts about potentially being franchise tagged, Barrett said,
“I’m gonna play off the tag, I got to. But I do want that long-term deal, it’s all about security for me and my family. That’s all I’ve been wanting for my whole time in the NFL, just get that security. Even a franchise tag, that’s still getting the security too but I just want a long contract and long-term security.”
There were previous thoughts a franchise tag might upset Barrett, but the linebacker acknowledged a $16M salary even for one year is security for his family as well. Barrett also hasn’t forgotten the opportunity the franchise gave him, by signing him to a one-year deal last off-season.
“It is important to me. It’s like, all my success as a starter is down here and it’s not broke,” Barrett said. “There’s no reason for me to want to try and go fix something that’s not broke. So, I’m on board but I still do understand it’s a business so I am preparing for anything. Emotionally, I think it’s going to be down in Tampa.”
Barrett trusts his gut, and isn’t afraid to follow what his emotions are telling him. Just after signing with the Buccaneers in 2019, he told me he knew he was going to leave Denver a full year and a half before he actually did.
When he did, he bet on himself, and went out looking for a coach and franchise who would give him an honest shot at competing to be on the field at the beginning and the end of the game. It’s all he wanted, it’s all he got. And he turned it into a record-setting one-year debut that looks primed for a debut performance in 2020.
If the team does tag Barrett, it’ll likely be a non-exclusive tag, the most commonly used version of the franchise tag in the NFL. This means business isn’t over, as Barrett and his agent would be free to negotiate with other teams. If he were to agree on a contract with another team, the Bucs would then have to match the offer, or receive two first-round draft picks from the team that then signs Barrett to the agreed upon deal.
Of course, if the team gives Barrett the exclusive franchise tag, then he and his agents will deal only with Tampa as they try and move towards a long-term extension, or prepare to earn one in 2020.
Check out the full video from Barrett’s interview on NFL Network as he talks about more than just his own contract situation, but the situation surrounding the Buccaneers’ quarterback position as well.