The play of outside linebacker Shaquil Barrett was instrumental in the Bucs’ 31-9 win over the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV. Barrett finished with one sack and a game-high four quarterback hurries of Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who passed for just 270 yards and no touchdowns, while being intercepted twice by Tampa Bay’s swarming defense.
“I think our performance speaks for itself,” Barrett said. “Hey, we got to be at the top somewhere. The Chiefs got a high-powered offense. The way we came out there and played tonight – offensively, defensively, special teams – we all did what we had to do to get the win. No touchdowns were unheard of for the Chiefs offense. If you told anyone they won’t score a touchdown in any game this year, if you would’ve bet on that you would’ve made so much money. Nobody would’ve thought the Chiefs would’ve never scored a touchdown in a Super Bowl game.”
Barrett was given the franchise tag by the Bucs this offseason after recording a league-high 19.5 sacks in his initial year in Tampa Bay in 2019, a year in which he made his first Pro Bowl. So he’s slated to hit free agency on March 17 unless he strikes a deal with the Bucs or Tampa Bay decides to use the franchise tag on him again.
After recording eight sacks and two forced fumbles in 2020, finishing third on the team in sacks behind Pro Bowler Jason Pierre-Paul’s 9.5 and Devin White’s nine, Barrett notched three sacks in Tampa Bay’s 31-26 win at Green Bay in the NFC Championship Game. When asked after the Bucs’ Super Bowl win if he wants to re-sign with Tampa Bay or explore free agency, Barrett wasn’t coy with his answer.
“I know there isn’t another place I’d rather be,” Barrett said. “I’m pretty sure my agent is going to talk to them. We’re going to talk and we’re going to find a quick solution to this because I know I found a home here. They gave me a shot. I earned a starting spot here. They gave me the freedom to play how I want to play. It’s been a perfect match since day one. The fans showed love since day one. Everyone showed all the love since day one, like I was already proven when I got here. I love it here and I just want to keep proving them right.”
Barrett made $15.828 million in base salary due to the franchise tag in 2020 and will be seeking an average per year of $15 million or higher on a multi-year contract extension this offseason. After the game, Bucs head coach Bruce Arians insisted he wasn’t going to retire and stated his desire for general manager Jason Licht to re-sign as many of the team’s pending free agents as possible to make another Super Bowl run in 2021.
“Hell no, I ain’t going anywhere,” Arians said. “I’m coming back, trying to get two and then we’ll see after that. But no, this football team – I love these guys and we have a great staff, great team. Hopefully Jason and I can get together and keep most of them and try to repeat.
“I think the biggest thing is keeping our guys. You know, do what we can, make sure that we keep our guys here and hit a home run in free agency – just with our guys. Maybe an outside guy. Just keep our guys, and then Jason will hit another home run in the draft and we’ll continue to build this football team. And you know we don’t have many weak spots if we get the guys back that we want back and need back. We’ll just be adding great athletes in the draft.”
Scott Reynolds is in his 25th year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds spent six years giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org