Bucs outside linebacker Shaquil Barrett leads the NFL with eight sacks through three games, and is on a ridiculous pace that would shatter the league’s single season sack record of 22.5, which was set by Michael Strahan in 2001.

Are you ready for this?

Barrett is on pace to actually hit 42 sacks this year – thanks to his current average of 2.6 sacks per game.

Bucs OLB Shaq Barrett
Bucs OLB Shaq Barrett – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

Forty-two!

Hitting 42 sacks in a season would nearly double Strahan’s NFL record, which is absurd.

Can Barrett do it?

History suggests he won’t – nor will he even come close – as the NFL has only had 11 players even reach 20 sacks in a single season in league history. And none of those players has even reached 23 sacks in a year, which is an average of 1.4375 sacks per game.

20-sack Players In NFL History

22.5 sacks – NY Giants DE Michael Strahan – 2001
22 sacks – Kansas City OLB Justin Houston – 2014
22 sacks – Minnesota DE Jared Allen – 2011
22 sacks – NY Jets DE Mark Gastineau – 1984
21 sacks – Minnesota DE Chris Doleman – 1989
21 sacks – Philadelphia DE Reggie White – 1987
20.5 sacks – LA Rams DT Aaron Donald – 2018
20.5 sacks – Houston DE J.J. Watt – 2014
20.5 sacks – Houston DE J.J. Watt – 2012
20.5 sacks – NY Giants OLB Lawrence Taylor – 1986
20 sacks – Dallas DE DeMarcus Ware – 2008
20 sacks – Kansas City OLB Derrick Thomas – 1990

It sounds funny to even say it out loud, but Barrett only needs 15 sacks in the last 13 games to break Strahan’s sack record of 22.5. It would be funny to comprehend that – if he didn’t rip off eight sacks in the first three weeks of the 2019 season in startling fashion.

That’s what makes this mental exercise worth investing in.

It’s not about Barrett posting a far-fetched 42 sacks. It’s about if he can get to 23 sacks and make NFL history.

It’s about if Barrett can join the league’s elite 20-sack club. That’s only 12 sacks away with 13 games left.

Can Barrett get to 17 sacks and break Warren Sapp’s franchise record of 16.5 in 2000? That’s only 8.5 sacks away with 13 games left.

Jason Pierre-Paul hit 12.5 sacks in his first season in Tampa Bay last year. Barrett only needs five sacks the rest of the way to eclipse that mark.

Bucs OLB Shaq Barrett
Bucs OLB Shaq Barrett – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

No member of the 20-sack club has ever recorded a sack in every game over an entire season before, so it’s unwise to suggest that Barrett will be able to do that over the next 13 games. But the good news is that in back-to-back games he has shown the ability to record multiple-sack games. The best pass rushers in NFL history have that trait.

It’s going to take another multiple-sack game or two to not just get Barrett into double-digit sack territory, but also position him to break team and NFL records. Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff has been sacked six times in three games thus far, including twice by Cleveland on Sunday. Can Barrett extend his sack streak to four games this Sunday in L.A.?

Let’s reflect on what Barrett has done thus far in his first three games in red and pewter.

After recording his first sack of the season in a Week 1 loss to San Francisco, Barrett recorded a career-high three sacks in Tampa Bay’s upset win at Carolina just five days later, earning him NFC Defensive Player of the Week honors.

In Sunday’s 32-31 loss to the New York Giants, Barrett established a new personal best with four sacks of rookie quarterback Daniel Jones, while forcing two fumbles in the process.

“I don’t think anybody could totally realize it would happen, but you saw things on tape and he was going to get opportunities, so he’s made the best of them,” said Bucs head coach Bruce Arians on Barrett’s hot start. “He’s getting some quick sacks – he’s whipping guys fast – and that’s all him. He’s got a good delay move – he’s got a nice toolbox of moves, and as teams get used to him, I think he’s got a few more he hasn’t even used yet.

“He’s studied other guys and he’s got his own moves, but you need to have three or four if you’re going to be elite and he’s shown it.”

By hitting eight sacks, Barrett earned a $250,000 performance bonus on Sunday, and he has the chance to hit another $250,000 bonus with just two more when he reaches 10 sacks.

And while Barrett is piling up the sacks, general manager Jason Licht and director of football administration Mike Greenberg would be wise to try to sign the 26-year old pass rusher to a long-term contract extension sooner rather than later. It will only be get expensive the longer the Bucs wait.

Bucs OLB Shaq Barrett
Bucs OLB Shaq Barrett – Photo by: Getty Images

Barrett signed a one-year, $4 million deal with the Bucs this offseason after spending his first five years in Denver, where he recorded 14.5 sacks during that span. Barrett’s signing is turning out to be an absolute steal for Licht and the Buccaneers.

Despite Denver having Pro Bowlers in Von Miller and Bradley Chubb, the Broncos are looking like fools for not re-signing Barrett this offseason, considering the fact that Denver has zero sacks through three games.

Meanwhile, Tampa Bay ranks tied for eighth in the league with nine sacks.

Barrett has eight of them – so far.

And he’s just getting started.

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Scott Reynolds is in his 24th 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 son's Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: [email protected]

25 COMMENTS

  1. Not only is his producing sacks but also pressures. He is literally carrying the defense at times. If the rest of the defense learns to play smarter and cleaner football this defense has lots of potential till JPP returns.

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  2. #58 has been on 🔥🔥🔥!

    This front 7 has been relentless and punishing and Shaq is making HUGE plays.

    More, please!!!!

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  3. The Broncos not only look like fools they are fools for not resigning Barrett!

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  4. I am happy for Shaq and I hope he does get a new contract with us its about time we get a decent pass rusher. You can tell he has worked hard to refine his game because these moves were not in his arsenal last year and without him we’re 0-3. Having said that I would like to see Bowles get more pressure with the base 4 man front instead a continued emptying of the cup with blitzes. Got to learn how to keep those LB’s at home to protect the middle of the field. If that happens Shaqs #’s may dip a little but we keep our defensive integrity!

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  5. Kudos to Licht for signing Shaq Barrett! What a diamond in the rough! But I know I’m not the only Buc fan who was screaming for someone else on defense to step up! Yesterday felt like we have a star in Shaq Barrett and 10 other JAGs (Just Another Guy). Dare I say Devin White could’ve made a positive difference yesterday?

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    • Ron Potter I am right there with you. On every play Vea & Suh are chewing up minimum 3 of 5 blockers leaving the other 2 for Gholston,Nassib,and Barrett. One of them goes unblocked or at the very least draws a measly TE or RB which in any case a DE should beat every time. For Nassib & Gholston to not have any sacks at this point is shameful to say the least. Shaq has been an impressive workhorse because he has been doing his damage against the opposing teams best LT’s. Fingers Crossed he stays healthy and breaks the sacks record, at least we’ll have that we can celebrate.

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      • Nassib, Vea, Suh and Gholston have made plays, even if they are a half step behind Barrett at getting to the QB. They definitely havent been beaten or been a liability.

        Also, they are punishing RB’s on the way to the QB. Stuffs, pressures, hits and sacks have all been incredibly physical.

        Tevin Coleman knocked out of the game.
        37 yards rushing for Mccaffrey. Stuffed at the end. Cam injured.
        10 yards rushing for Saquon and knocked out of the game twice.

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        • Suh & Vea have been Beasts but Nassib & Gholston are JAGS! I will agree that we have been stout against the run but we still need that #2 pass rusher to step up.

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          • Agree with both of you actually and can be more specific in what I was saying. Really needed somebody on defense to step up on that drive Daniel Jones scored that TD. Maybe LVD? ….who slapped the ball down instead of trying to catch it on that previous 3rd down? Maybe Suh? …who BA said needed to be further in the middle of that line on that stunt they ran on the TD. Barrett gets a pass from me. He stepped up in so many ways!

            Or maybe not that last drive. Where was VH3, Carlton Davis and Whitehead FOR THE WHOLE SECOND HALF??!! This defense literally gave up an 18 point lead in that second half! Engram, Sharpe and yet another rookie QB tore us up! Not quite as bad as last year’s Chicago game but definitely a worthy flashback/reminder. The only constant between Chicago’s game last year and this year’s Giants 2nd half is VH3, Carlton Davis and Whitehead.

            Obviously this is a great opportunity for Bowles’s to remind these guys why we drafted another 3 DBs. And perhaps Licht should call the Jags and say, “hey, you don’t want Ramsey calling in sick 13 more times do you?” The longer the Jags let that happen, that might drop the price some. He’s obviously divorced himself from them and I was a hard no on Ramsey till this secondary reminded me of last year’s Chicago’s game. Or maybe Licht will call about that Cardinal DB…Peterson??… I dunno. But this definitely should be a good motivator for VH3, CD and Whitehead… the clock is ticking on them. One INT in three games… BA ain’t happy about that… was obvious when he said Mike Edwards shouldn’t have dropped that INT… and Bowles and BA certainly aren’t happy giving up chunks of yards to “all-pros” like Engram and Sharpe LOL.

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      • Captain: Nasib had a sack in the game.

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  6. Well you just jinked him; you just challenged every left tackle to protect their quarterback or at least double-team him.

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    • Please do. Doubling Shaq would open it up for other LBs to rush in unencumbered. Either that ir it softens the middle of the line which would give a cleaner path to Kong or Vita

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  7. Haha hopefully not Horse, But like Ron Potter was saying someone else has to step up. Football breaks down into numbers & so if they want to Dbl team Shaq with a TE that subtracts a receiving threat downfield leaving us with a Robber.

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  8. These massive bodies in the middle of the defense are preventing these teams from keying in on Shaq every single down because then you’d have Suh and Vea wrecking your pocket so they have no choice but to sometimes put their tackle on an island with him. Normally this wouldn’t be sustainable with just any guy but this Shaq Barrett may be one of the most wicked pass rushers I have ever seen. Certainly in terms of just pure talent screaming off the edge and having a perfect understanding of leverage and when to accelerate. You can just tell this guy absorbed a lot of knowledge from Von Miller because he’s got moves for days. Creativity, quick twitch and power. Reminds me of Dwight Freeny when he swipes at the football.

    Anyways I’ll stop gushing but he is the whole package. It is awesome to watch.

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  9. You have to give Vea and Suh credit. They have been drawling double team and collapsing the pocket. The QB can’t step up.

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  10. The Bucs need to sign him to an extension, before his one year deal is up. Don’t even let him hit the FA market, where is price will sky rocket.

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  11. Not to take anything away from Barrett but Suh and Vea in the middle not being able to be moved are big part of why any LB’s have shot at getting to the QB.

    Will be following this closely to see if he can get to 20 plus would be great.

    Fingers crossed JPP returns in October sometime.

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  12. “Hey Shaq – if you’re not busy over the bye week, we’d love to have you swing by and sign a piece of paper for us.”

    DO IT JASON. He’s already shown you won’t be sorry.

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  13. Interesting to me is everyone was harping on how ineffective Vea is and all of a sudden, doing much better. Reality is he has been improving every game since he was drafted. Another things I find interesting is everyone hates Licht for his drafting (in some cases correctly) but no one gives him credit for these pickups like Shaquil Barrett for $4.5 million or Cameron Brate for $7.5 million. Jason Licht has found a number of players on the relative cheap off the free agent and undrafted market who have worked out.

    I am getting the feeling while Jason Licht has made big mistakes he is learning from them, as the number of good decisions is getting closer to where it should be. Even Ronald Jones II is getting better at running his second year, pretty effective against the Giants 14 carries for 80 yards, and against the 49ers with 13 carries for 75 yards. He was regarded as a not great pick last year, but his second year, is becoming effective. I bet he does the right thing with Barrett, but not necessarily signing him for an extension after three games. He is going to wait and see what happens for at least 8 games and if he keeps it up, then renegotiate an extension. I don’t see any good NFL GM going three games and screaming, “Sign him up, now!”

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    • Licht correctly gets the blame for the worst won-loss record in the 25 year Buc’s history after the Glazer purchase of the team. Prior to the Malcolm Glazer, the owner (Hugh Culverhouse) effectively managed the Bucs so the GMs didn’t really matter much prior to the Glazers taking over.

      The bottom line is the bottom line. And the bottom line is the W-L record. It’s really really bad – and Jason Licht owns it, lock, stock, and barrel.

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  14. Well, every NFL coach and offensive coordinator who are on the Bucs’ remaining schedule are certainly going to game plan for Barrett, which is certainly going to cool off his three game pace. And injuries happen all the time too. So no, Barrett will not hit 42 sacks, and I think it somewhat unlikely that he will break Strahan’s record too. Remember that Strahan only got the record because Brett Farve tanked on the play that got him the record, effectively pretending to be sacked. I doubt that there are any NFL quarterbacks who would pay such a favor to Barrett.

    But, Barrett is certainly a pretty good bet, barring serious injury, to break the Bucs all time sack record.

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  15. Bucs found gold with Barrett, wait till JPP comes back than you will really have some edge rushers

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  16. Sack Barrett has been awesome and I know it’s not just a fluke. Hopefully the LBs start handling the TEs better and then he’ll start getting MORE Shaqs.

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  17. crazier things have happened

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  18. According to NFL dot com’s fantasy football stats, the Bucs defense is #1 at stopping the run.

    Now if they can be better at stopping the pass, they’d be epic compared to what they were last year.

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