Shaq Barrett, Buccaneers Reportedly Discussing Long-Term Contract Ahead of FA

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistMarch 9, 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

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Pro Bowl linebacker Shaquil Barrett are reportedly talking about a long-term contract Ahead free agency next week. 

ProFootballTalk first reported the sides were having discussions. 

Albert Breer of The MMQB added the Bucs are having "earnest" talks with Barrett after they used their franchise tag on wide receiver Chris Godwin. 

Barrett is one of several key impending free agents for the reigning Super Bowl Champions. Tagging Godwin will allow the team to continue negotiating a long-term deal with him, but NFL.com notes he will earn $15.81 million if he plays on the franchise tag.

Cap space will potentially be a problem for the Bucs if they want to retain all of their significant free agents. Over the Cap estimates they are $3.8 million over a projected $180.5 million 2021 cap, factoring in Godwin's one-year tender.

One lingering option for the Buccaneers to create additional cap space is reworking Tom Brady's contract. NFL reporter Josina Anderson noted Sunday that the team is "getting closer" to a new deal with the five-time Super Bowl MVP. 

Head coach Bruce Arians said in a CBS Sports radio interview last month (h/t ProFootballTalk's Mike Florio) that the team was hoping to "keep or five or six guys" among its impending free agents. 

That group could include Barrett, Godwin, Lavonte David, Rob Gronkowski and Antonio Brown. 

Barrett, who played on the franchise tag last season, has been one of the NFL's most valuable defensive players during his two years with the Bucs. The 28-year-old has recorded 53 quarterback hits, 30 tackles for loss and 27.5 sacks in 31 regular-season games since the start of 2019. 

During Tampa's playoff run last season, Barrett recorded eight quarterback hits and four sacks combined in the NFC Championship Game and Super Bowl.