After signing a one-year prove-it deal in 2019 and subsequently setting a Bucs’ franchise record and leading the league with 19.5 sacks, Tampa Bay franchise-tagged outside linebacker Shaq Barrett for the 2020 season. Fresh off a sack in Tampa Bay’s 31-9 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV, Barrett made it clear that he wanted to remain with the Bucs moving forward.
“I know there isn’t another place I’d rather be,” Barrett said about the Bucs after the Super Bowl. “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.”
If Barrett left any mystery about his intentions next season in his words following the Super Bowl, he reiterated the sentiment at the Bucs’ celebratory boat parade on Wednesday with even more decisiveness.
“World champs, two-time world champs and we’re coming back, back-t0-back,” Barrett said in a video from ESPN’s Jenna Laine. “That’s the plan, we’re coming back next year to get it done again.”
And Barrett isn’t the only one in the organization that shares Barrett’s feelings on his return to Tampa Bay. On stage with a large contingent of the Bucs’ roster following their parade, Bruce Arians told a number of Tampa Bay’s impending free agents that they aren’t going anywhere, before Barrett once again repeated that he’ll be back with the Bucs for the 2021 season.
Despite intentions, free agency will naturally have to run its course for both Barrett and the Bucs, but judging by the words from those involved, it wouldn’t be surprising to see negotiations begin sooner than later on a new deal.