Shaquil Barrett, Bucs Agree to 4-Year, $72M Contract After Winning Super Bowl

Blake SchusterSenior Analyst IIMarch 15, 2021

Tampa Bay Buccaneers outside linebacker Shaquil Barrett (58) reacts after a play during the second half of the NFL Super Bowl 55 football game against the Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, Feb. 7, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated the Kansas City Chiefs 31-9. (AP Photo/Steve Luciano)
Steve Luciano/Associated Press

Linebacker Shaquil Barrett is staying with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Barrett texted NFL reporter Josina Anderson, "I am going back to Tampa."

Adam Schefter @AdamSchefter

Buccaneers are giving Shaq Barrett a four-year deal worth up $72 million that includes $36 million fully guaranteed, his agent @DrewJRosenhaus told ESPN

The Bucs have been making moves prior to free agency to retain key players. Receiver Chris Godwin received the franchise tag last week, and linebacker Lavonte David agreed to a contract extension. 

As well, quarterback Tom Brady agreed on an extension through the 2022 season that saved the team $19 million against the cap in 2021, per ESPN's Adam Schefter

Barrett entered the 2020 season on the franchise tag after the two sides were unable to agree on an extension.

The pass-rusher was the bright spot for an otherwise porous defense in Tampa Bay in 2019. After betting on himself in free agency by agreeing to a one-year, $5 million deal with the Bucs, he recorded 19.5 sacks, 58 total tackles, six forced fumbles and one interception. That made his value skyrocket but left him without a new deal in 2020.

He recorded multi-sack games against the Atlanta Falcons, New York Giants, Jacksonville Jaguars and Carolina Panthers. Tampa's defense still ranked among the worst in the league, allowing 343.9 yards (15th) and 28.1 points (29th) per game.

In 2020, his numbers dipped to eight sacks, 57 tackles and two forced fumbles, though the team won the Super Bowl with Brady to lead the offense.

It's been a wild few years for the 28-year-old Barrett. The undrafted free agent out of Colorado State made the Denver Broncos roster in 2015 and recorded 14 sacks in five years. His defensive snap count topped 45 percent in just one season with the team, dropping all the way to 26 percent in 2018 before he left as a free agent.

With Tampa Bay in 2019, Barrett was on the field for 79 percent of the Bucs' defensive snaps. He was named a Pro Bowler for the first time as well as a second-team All-Pro.

He didn't hide how much he wanted to stay in Florida toward the end of the 2019 season.

"I want to be here," Barrett told reporters. "I'm still going back home to Colorado to train and stuff there, but ... I plan on being back here to start [organized team activities] and the season. That's where I'm looking at right now. It's the Bucs' to lose, and I don't think they're going to lose it."

After being given the franchise tag, he told Colleen Wolfe of NFL Total Access (h/t Grant Gordon of NFL.com) he was "50-50" on signing the one-year pact if a long-term deal was not reached. However, he made it clear a few days later that he would "definitely" sign the tag.

Barrett signed his franchise tender that July but then filed a grievance, making the case that he should be tagged as a defensive end rather than as a linebacker. According to Over The Cap, there was a nearly $2 million difference between the defensive end tag ($17.8 million) and linebacker tag ($15.8 million).

Regardless, after a Super Bowl season, he has the long-term contract he desired.