Just minutes into NFL free agency, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers pulled off a big win by re-signing former Pro Bowl linebacker Shaq Barrett, per league insider Josina Anderson. The Bucs pass rusher was one of the top available free agents on the market, albeit briefly.
ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported that the Bucs “weren’t optimistic” about their chances of re-signing Barrett just a few days ago. The move now means the Buccaneers have been able to retain Chris Godwin, Lavonte David and Barrett giving the Super Bowl champs a phenomenal start to the offseason.
“There it is. Barrett in clubhouse with good number,” Fowler tweeted. “Bucs weren’t optimistic over weekend due to Barrett’s big asking price but they found a sweet spot.”
The news came minutes after Barrett indicated to Anderson that he would be testing the free-agent waters. Barrett referred to Tampa Bay as “Option A” before signing a long-term extension.
“Just got off the phone with Bucs OLB Shaquil Barrett,” Anderson said on Twitter. “Shaq is already out on his morning drive. He told me, ‘returning to Tampa Bay is definitely Option A. We’ll see what it’s looking like in a little bit.'”
Tom Brady appears to be a big fan of the move as the legendary quarterback signed a contract extension to help the Bucs keep the linebacker and other key players. Brady tweeted out a Zoolander meme with the “we’re back” caption retweeting a post on the Bucs’ recent roster moves.
— Tom Brady (@TomBrady) March 15, 2021
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Barrett Signed a 4-Year Contract That Can be as Much as $72 Million
On OLB/DE Shaq Barrett re-signing with the #Bucs —
— Matt Bowen (@MattBowen41) March 15, 2021
Barrett is receiving the long-term security he has been seeking after playing last season on the franchise tag. The Bucs linebacker signed a four-year deal worth up to $72 million with $36 million fully guaranteed, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
There’s even better news for Bucs fans as Barrett’s cap hit will be less than $6 million in 2021, per Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer. The Buccaneers still have a number of other key free agents they would like to re-sign including Rob Gronkowski, Antonio Brown and Ndamukong Suh.
“Bucs OLB Shaq Barrett is getting an $18 million signing bonus as part of this deal, per agent @DrewJRosenhaus,” Breer noted on Twitter. “A piece of the $36 million full guarantee that’ll keep his cap number under $6 million for 2021.”
The Bucs Re-Signed David, Barrett & Godwin for a Cap Hit Close to $30 Million
As The Draft Network’s Trevor Sikkema pointed out, the Bucs have been able to re-sign their top three free agents and kept it at about a $30 million cap hit. This makes it realistic that the Bucs will be able to do the same for Brown, Suh and Gronkowski. The Bucs also managed to sign Brady to a one-year extension to help create this cap space.
“The Bucs really brought back Chris Godwin, Shaq Barrett and Lavonte David from unrestricted free agency and it only cost them $30 mil in cap space lmao,” Sikkema tweeted.
Barrett took to Instagram to confirm the news and offer his first thoughts on the new deal. The Bucs linebacker posted a photo of himself in a Doug Williams throwback jersey calling the Bucs organization “something special.”
“If it’s meant to be it will be,” Barrett explained on Instagram. “It’s something special about this whole organization and am so excited to be a part of it for 4 more years. #FireTheCannons #TGBTG”