Bucs linebacker —and the NFL’s reigning sack master— Shaquil Barrett made some big news the other day when he said he was “50/50” on signing the franchise tag.
Barrett appeared on NFL Total Access Wednesday to talk football and he was asked about his current contract situation with the Bucs.
”It’s still up in the air right now, about 50-50,” he told NFL Network reporter Colleen Wolfe. “We’ll find out a little more information on Friday.”
This goes against what he told Tampa Bay Times reporter Rick Stroud not too long ago and it’s also inconsistent with what he’s said about playing under the tag at other points during the offseason, however, I wouldn’t worry about any kind of potential obstacle, holdout, or issue preventing him from getting on the field in 2020.
First off, Barrett doesn’t seem like the type of guy to make a big deal out of playing under the tag. Even though it’s not a long-term deal, it still pays well and it makes him one of the highest-paid guys at his position in 2020.
Second, the “50-50” remark could mean that there is some kind of momentum that will lead to a long-term deal. Who knows, the Bucs and Drew Rosenhaus —Barrett’s agent— may have recently hit some kind of middle ground and are in the works of figuring it all out.
And lastly —and I hate to discuss another person’s finances publicly, but that’s the nature of the beast— Barrett would be foolish to hold out or miss any kind of playing time. There’s a good chance he could be fined, which would cut into his pockets, but he also doesn’t really have much ground to stand on when it comes to sacrificing a payday of this magnitude.
That’s an 857% increase in yearly earnings and a 59% increase in career earnings in one season. Yes, he would make almost 60% more money playing under the tag in 2020 than he has made in six years.
This is why Titans fans shouldn’t be concerned with a potential Derrick Henry holdout in 2020. It’s why Vikings fans don’t need to be worried about a Dalvin Cook holdout and it’s also why Dak Prescott signed his tag. It’s not a good idea AT ALL to miss out on this type of money, even if it does sacrifice long-term security in the short run.
People often say, “Well, Le’Veon Bell held out for an entire year. It’s possible.”
Sure, that’s true, but Bell was in a much different spot when held out. Not only did he finish his original rookie contract that paid him close to $4 million, but he also played one year in Pittsburgh under the tag for $12,120,000, which gave him right around $16 million to rest on before he signed with the Jets. Don’t forget ad deals and whatnot, either. Bell had a lot more marketability going for him at the time, and that’s no disrespect to Barrett or the aforementioned guys, it’s just the truth.
So don’t worry about Shaq. Everything will be fine.
But if the Bucs don’t lock him down after this year, then what happens next is anyone’s guess.