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Shaq Barrett on Buccaneers in Free Agency: 'Ain't No Other Place I'd Rather Be'

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistFebruary 8, 2021

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) looks to throw a pass while in the grasp of Tampa Bay Buccaneers outside linebacker Shaquil Barrett, right, during the second half of the NFL Super Bowl 55 football game, Sunday, Feb. 7, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Chris O'Meara/Associated Press

Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Shaquil Barrett helped his team's defense shut down the Kansas City Chiefs in Sunday's 31-9 Super Bowl victory and wants to run it back.Β Β 

"Ain't no other place I'd rather be," he said of free agency while adding he expects a "quick solution" this offseason, per Greg Auman of The Athletic.

"I know I've found a home here," he continued, per Myles SimmonsΒ of Pro Football Talk. "They gave me a shot. I earned a starting spot here. They gave me the freedom to play the way I wanted to play. And it's just been working out. It's been a perfect match since Day 1.Β I love it here, and I want to just keep proving them right."

Barrett was undrafted out of Colorado State but played for the Denver Broncos for the first five seasons of his career from 2014-18.

He appeared in all 16 games in 2015, 2016 and 2017 and was a solid contributor who tallied 14 sacks during his time with the AFC West team. It was only after he signed a one-year deal with the Buccaneers prior to the 2019 campaign that he turned the corner as one of the best defensive players in the entire league.

Barrett led the NFL with 19.5 sacks during that first year in Tampa Bay and then played the 2020 campaign on the franchise tag.

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He wasn't as effective with eight sacks, but he was a menace to the Kansas City offensive line on the biggest stage and finished Sunday's contest with a sack and four quarterback hits. His pressure was part of a constant theme as Kansas City's banged-up offensive line was unable to give Patrick Mahomes enough time to throw throughout the game.

With a championship and Pro Bowl selection during his two seasons in Tampa Bay, it's hard to blame Barrett for wanting to stay even if explicitly stating as much may cut into his leverage during negotiations.

From the Buccaneers' perspective, he is a 28-year-old pass-rushing force in the middle of his prime.

It seems like an easy decision to make for the champions as they turn toward defending the crown in 2021.

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