The Bucs have successfully dodged COVID-19 for most of the 2020 NFL season, but it appears to be catching up with them with the playoffs around the corner. On Friday the team announced that linebacker Devin White and outside linebacker Shaq Barrett have been placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list and will miss Sunday’s game against Atlanta.

Barrett and White missing Week 17 isn’t a major deal, as Tampa Bay only needs to win to secure the fifth seed in the playoffs, and can still do so even if they lose to the Falcons, provided the Rams lose to the Cardinals on Sunday as well. Los Angeles will be playing backup quarterback John Wolford and will be without wide receiver Cooper Kupp.

The biggest potential impact of the Barrett and White news is that both players could be in danger of missing the team’s wild card game if they tested positive on Thursday. Neither player practiced on Friday, but did on Thursday, and the team is not permitted to reveal whether either player tested positive or if both are simply being quarantined for contact tracing. There is also the possibility of a false positive, as was the case with kicker Ryan Succop earlier this season.

The Week 17 absence for White and Barrett will wipe out both players chances of reaching double-digit sacks this season. White will finish the regular season with nine sacks to go with his 140 tackles, while Barrett completes a contract year with just eight sacks, one season after leading the league with 19.5. The Bucs will lean on veteran linebacker Kevin Minter to replace White, and second-year outside linebacker Anthony Nelson to fill in for Barrett.

UPDATE 4:28 PM EST: According to Tampa Bay Times reporter Rick Stroud, the Bucs have also placed defensive tackle Steve McLendon on the reserve/COVID-19 list.

McLendon missed Thursday and Friday’s practice with a designation of “not injury related”, but had been listed as questionable for Week 17. The team announced McLendon would miss Sunday’s game against Atlanta after being added to the reserve/COVID-19 list.

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About the Author: Jon Ledyard

Jon Ledyard is's newest Bucs beat writer and has experience covering the Pittsburgh Steelers as a beat writer and analyzing the NFL Draft for several draft websites, including The Draft Network. Follow Ledyard on Twitter at @LedyardNFLDraft
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3 months ago

Totally in favor of the Bucs going into a bubble concept with the Covid-19 situation from now on.