Buccaneers $68 Million Star in Danger of Being Benched, Says Analyst

Shaq Barrett

Getty Shaq Barrett (left) is ready to bounce back from injuries that derailed his 2022 season.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers star pass rusher Shaq Barrett may be on the hot seat heading into the 2023 season. USA Today put together a list of one veteran from each NFL team that are in danger of losing their starting spot to a rookie. Barrett could receive a push from rookies YaYa Diaby and Jose Ramirez for one of the starting edge rushing/linebacker spots, says USA Today’s River Wells.

“Outside linebacker Shaquil Barrett is coming back from an Achilles injury he suffered in 2022,” Wells wrote on May 28, 2023. “An Achilles injury is one of the worst injuries an NFL player can have if their position relies on their explosiveness, which every edge rusher needs — what’s more, Barrett is 30 years old heading into this season.

“The Bucs drafted two edge rushers in YaYa Diaby and Jose Ramirez in the 2023 NFL draft, and they also have strong depth at the position with guys like Anthony Nelson. If Barrett doesn’t heal properly from his Achilles injury this late in his career, he could quickly find himself out of a starting job in Tampa Bay.”

Bucs Star Shaq Barrett Still Has 2 Seasons Remaining on a 4-Year, $68 Million Contract

Barrett played in just eight games last season before sustaining a torn Achilles injury. The two-time Pro Bowler was off to a slow start prior to the injury posting 31 tackles, 6 quarterback hits and 3 sacks in 2022. Prior to last year, Barrett had double-digit sacks in two of his previous three seasons, including 19.5 sacks in 2019.

Barring a setback in Barrett’s recovery, smart money is on the veteran retaining his starting gig. Diaby posted 37 tackles, 14 tackles for loss, 9 sacks and two fumble recoveries in 13 appearances for Louisville in 2022. There is a major jump in transitioning from playing in the ACC to battling NFL offensive lines.

Barrett still has two seasons remaining on a four-year, $68 million contract and is slated to have a $14.2 million salary in 2023. The Bucs could move off of Barrett during the 2024 offseason but would take a sizable $16.4 million dead cap hit with his release, per Spotrac.

Buccaneers Linebacker Devin White Is Pushing for a Trade Out of Tampa

Tampa Bay also selected former Pitt standout Calijah Kancey in the first round, but the rookie is primarily expected to make an impact from the inside of the defensive line. The Bucs are dealing with a bit of uncertainty as Devin White requested a trade this offseason, but the star is still under contract with Tampa Bay for another season. The Buccaneers have given no indication that the team will acquiesce White’s request as the franchise continues to emphasize their desire to keep the defender in Tampa.

“It’s money. You’re looking out at the guaranteed money, and he wants his money now,” Buccaneers inside linebackers coach Larry Foote told reporters on May 3. “He has to understand the organization is preparing for next year, so we have to meet somewhere in the middle, however it’s going to play out.

“[We] picked up his fifth-year option, [Saw] yesterday a lot of players don’t get that option. But it’s money and I understand that. Like I said, he’s not the first, and he’s not going to be the last. That’s part of the game.”

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