After Tampa Bay’s defense amassed 47 sacks last season, including a league-high 19.5 coming from outside linebacker Shaq Barrett on a one-year contract, the Bucs’ front office made it an emphasis to keep their starting front seven together.

General manager Jason Licht and his staff made it happen by re-signing defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh to a one-year deal and using the team’s franchise tag on Barrett, paying the veteran edge rusher over $15.8 million for the 2020 season. Suh’s future with the team is unknown, but head coach Bruce Arians made it clear on Monday that he doesn’t plan on Barrett going anywhere else this upcoming offseason.

“[Having Barrett and Jason Pierre-Paul] is a luxury and we don’t plan on Shaq going anywhere,” Arians said. “And I don’t think he wants to go anywhere because having [Pierre-Paul] on the other side really helps him out and vice versa. Putting him over the guard this week, they did some different stuff and they’re a heck of a duo, man. When you can get someone [one-on-one], they’re hard to block.”

While Pierre-Paul remains under contract with the team through the 2021 season, Barrett and the Bucs were in discussions about a contract extension last offseason, but Tampa Bay ultimately settled on the franchise tag. With free agents Lavonte David, Chris Godwin, Rob Gronkowski and Suh to consider this offseason, Barrett’s future in Tampa Bay had seemed cloudy at best, but a vote of confidence in his coach could be a sign the edge rusher might be heading back to the Bucs this offseason.

Barrett spoke on the importance of the Bucs playing their best football in December and how much Pierre-Paul has helped elevate his game over these two seasons together, following the win on Sunday.

“It’s not an option, we have to,” Barrett said. “I mean not ‘we.’ I started slow and I just have to pick it up. I want to do my job as much as possible and be known as one of the best, so in order to do that you have to have the stats, you have to have the numbers to go with it. Having JPP on the other end just helps out a lot. We always talk and are always switching sides now and are trying to figure out what works best for us. It’s working right now, and we’ve just got to stay hot, keep it hot and keep going.”

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Captain Sly
2 months ago

I really like Barrett but at the right price? Shaq has been absent at times this year even against teams missing starters. NO,CAR,LV,LA,CHI,NYG =0.0 sacks. I mean where do you start your negotiations? Khalil Mack/Vonn Miller or Dee Ford/Chandler Jones? I mean to me Shaq is more a product of Todd Bowles system. Once he got moved back to the right side his numbers started going up. A Huge Coaching Blunder but hey what’s new.

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BigSombrero
2 months ago

Shaq will finish with 14 sacks IMO. I thought he would pick up 8 in the last 4 games and he’s on pace to do that. Next up is Atlanta where he collected the most sacks last year. Also, Detroit is on tap. My guess is he will likely lead the team in sacks again, although JPP currently the most sacks at 9.5.
If he leads the team in sacks, he will get paid by someone with cap space.

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RW
RW
Reply to  BigSombrero
2 months ago

He might finish with 14 but as Captain Sly says he hasn’t been consistent.And against the Viks he also seemed to be concentrating on getting sacks and forgot about stopping the run. To get the big money contract he needs to be good in all areas of the game and be consistent.

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drdneast
2 months ago

Sorry, but i wouldn’t be handing over a 31 yo LB like David with average coverage skills a big gob of cash. Suh has helped transform this defense from a Peace Corps unit under Gerald McCoy to an angry bunch of renegades looking to feast on a QB dinner in the backfield every Sunday. and his sack total this year is better than last.

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TBChucky
Reply to  drdneast
2 months ago

Drdneast, I meant to upvote your post, not downvote. I agree.

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plopes808
Reply to  drdneast
2 months ago

I disagree, Lavonte has been the heart of this defense for years and is still performing at an all-pro level.

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TBChucky
2 months ago

I think both Shaq and JPP will finish in the 11 to 12+ area personally. I fully expect Bowles to continue to bring the heat during this playoff run. I think Shaq has earned a contract. Hope he kills it down the stretch.

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plopes808
2 months ago

Lucky for us, Shaq’s having a “down year” compared to last year. While he hasn’t put up the flashy stats, he’s been playing very well and doing his job. The stats will bring his price down which is great news for us.

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SenileSenior
2 months ago

BA has said something like “Godwin isn’t going anywhere.” also. I fully expect to see David, JPP and Barrett here next year. I hope Suh returns for one more time. I expect to see a base WR receiver corps of at least Evans, Godwin, Miller and Johnson.
Meanwhile,
________________________
Go Bucs!!! Bury the Dirty Birds this week!

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