3 Most Likely Destinations for Shaquil Barrett in Free Agency After Super Bowl 55
By Max Staley
Few players have made themselves more money over the past two seasons than Tampa Bay Buccaneers' pass-rusher Shaquil Barrett. Signing with the Bucs after five unremarkable seasons with the Denver Broncos, Barrett burst on to the scene with a league-leading 19.5 sacks in 2019.
Tampa Bay had to franchise tag him ($15.8 million) to keep him in 2020. He followed up that breakout campaign with an 8-sack season that saw him lead the league in pressures (77), according to ProFootballFocus, while being an integral part of the Bucs' Super Bowl-winning defense.
Likely looking for a long-term deal, Tampa Bay surely wants to keep the 28-year-old star, but GM Jason Licht might not have the cap space to do so. With that in mind, here are the three most likely destinations for Barrett in free agency.
Shaq Barrett Free Agency
3. Miami Dolphins
The Miami Dolphins have one of the best defenses in the league, but they did so despite not having a truly dominant edge rusher. Barrett is certainly that. He would immediately raise this defense's ceiling, freeing up other pass-rushers by commanding extra attention from the opponent. Projected to be top 10 in 2021 cap space, the Dolphins should have enough to bring in Barrett without much trouble.
2. Cincinnati Bengals
The Cincinnati Bengals have a ton of holes they need to address, primarily along the offensive line. Protecting Joe Burrow needs to be the main priority, and Super Bowl LV just re-enforced that sentiment. But with the fifth-most projected cap space in the league, Cincinnati should have enough to address the O-Line and a few other positions of need. Pass-rusher certainly qualifies. Cincinnati generated pressure at the third-lowest rate in the league in 2020. That's not going to work against the high-flying offenses in the AFC North. Signing Barrett would solve Cincy's pass-rushing woes quickly.
1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Financially, this is going to be tricky. The Bucs have a ton of key players hitting free agency, and they're realistically not going to be able to retain all of them. But Shaq Barrett should be their priority (along with keeping impending FA Chris Godwin). This team found its identity late in the season as a high-flying offense and a hard-hitting defense with a ferocious pass-rush. That unit loses a lot of its bite if Barrett is playing elsewhere in 2021. Thankfully, Barrett has already expressed interest in returning, meaning the two sides just need to come to an agreement financially. He'd likely get less money than he would on the open market, but the chance to contend could help offset some of that. And Tampa is obviously aware of how much it needs Barrett, so it's unlikely he'd take that much of a hit by staying.
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Max Staley is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Max Staley also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username mstaley1212. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.