We’ll be breaking down all the major and minor moves for NFL Free Agency with grades and analysis. You can find the comprehensive list of moves and grades here.
Reported deal: Four years/$72 million and $36 million guaranteed
Two years ago, Shaq Barrett signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on a one-year/$4 million deal. That led to 19.5 sacks and a franchise tag. After an 8-sack season in 2020, Barrett proved his ability to be a consistent pass rusher off the edge. He ranked 10th in Pass Rush Win Rate and 12th in pressure rate among 124 DE/LB with at least 150 pass rushes last season.
Barrett wasn’t as dominant in 2020 as he was in 2019, but he didn’t need to be in order to make his impact felt on the defensive line. With Barrett across from Jason Pierre-Paul, the Buccaneers had one of the best defensive lines in the league, ranked fifth in Pass Rush Win rate.
This deal will put Barrett among the top of the market for EDGE rushers, just below the $20 million average annual value mark.
The structure of the deal also follows along with the Lavonte David contract and Tom Brady restructure/extension that pushes money into future years. As we noted earlier, the Buccaneers have been historically hesitant to structure contracts in that way, but they appear to be all-in on getting as much out of 2021 as possible. According to NFL Network’s Ian Rappoport, Barrett’s 2021 cap hit will come in at just $5.6 million.
Even with that lowered hit, the Buccaneers will be spending significant resources on a defensive line for one of the league’s heaviest blitzing teams. It’s fair to question whether the Buccaneers could have tried to gamble on finding another low-risk, high-reward signing like they initially had with Barrett in 2019, but it’s also hard to fault Tampa Bay for wanting to keep as much together as possible after a Super Bowl win. And as the Bucs showed in the Super Bowl, there is value in being able to get pressure with four.