One of the Buccaneers’ biggest goals this offseason was to keep their defense together, with priority No. 1 being the league’s sack leader in 2019, Shaquil Barrett. Back in March, the team took the necessary step to keep him on board, but electing to franchise tag him rather than sign him to a long-term deal.
Ever since, Barrett has maintained that he would play under the tag despite his hopes of getting a multi-year deal done. Recently, he said he believed that something was in the works, but nothing has come of it—at least publicly. Now, ESPN’s Adam Schefter has reported that the 27-year-old is accepting the franchise tag, but there’s a catch to it:
Bucs pass rusher Shaq Barrett has notified Tampa that he officially has accepted his franchise tender, but with an asterisk: he has filed a grievance with NFLPA to be tagged as a DE, not a LB, @RosenhausSports tells ESPN. There’s a $2 million diffference between a DE and an LB.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) July 10, 2020
So, as Schefter reports, Barrett is going to play under the tag in 2020 (should there be a season), but has chosen to file a grievance with the NFL Players Association. He wants to be tagged as a defensive end rather than a linebacker due to the fact that the franchise tag for a defensive end is worth closer to $18 million, while the tag for a linebacker is worth $15.8 million.
For what it’s worth, Barrett is listed on Tampa Bay’s roster as an outside linebacker, which makes sense considering his role in Todd Bowles’ defense as a 3-4 outside linebacker. But it’s not hard to understand his side of things, as he proved himself to be a prolific edge rusher last year. After totaling 19.5 sacks in 2019, he’s wanting to get paid more like a defensive end than a linebacker, and it’s hard to fault him for that, right?
Of course, what Barrett really wanted was the longer-term security of a multi-year contract. But if he’s going to be accepting the franchise tag, it would seem to be a smart move on his part to get the max amount that he can. We’ll see what happens, but either way, Bucs fans can rest easy knowing that Shaq Barrett is officially sticking around for 2020.