Fresh off of signing a four-year, $68 million deal to return to the Bucs, outside linebacker Shaq Barrett spoke with the media on Wednesday to discuss the process of agreeing to terms on his new deal.
Barrett, who was an integral part of the Bucs’ Super Bowl LV win with one sack and 11 pressures in the game, is already a two-time Super Bowl champion. The atmosphere the Bucs had after that championship celebration and the possibility of doing it again was too good for him to pass up.
“After winning the Super Bowl, that’s what it’s about for me, for sure,” Barrett said. “I just love the feel of the atmosphere, most definitely of the parade, everything that goes into it, it’s just so much fun to be able to celebrate with the fans like that and as a family, it was amazing. We’ve got all the makings to do it again, so we just got to put the work in again and not rest and keep being hungry and we’ll be at a good place at the end of the year next year.”
It wasn’t guaranteed that Barrett would be back, but he assured everyone that Tampa Bay was his main focus the whole time.
“Initially there was some interest from other teams,” Barrett said. “But as we got down to the nitty gritty, there wasn’t too many calls coming through, but I was always focused on being back here. There was nowhere else I wanted to be. I knew the salary cap was going to be a problem, but I was happy we’re able to get it done at a great rate for us, and a great rate for them. I’m excited, I’m just happy to be back here, there was no reason that I would ever want to leave down here. We’re doing it right down here, we got a great group of guys, I’m excited to be here for another four.”
While it was Lavonte David that got the ball rolling as far as players re-signing here in order to keep the band together and go for two, as Bruce Arians proclaimed, it was Barrett who made it loud and clear at the parade that he wanted to be back. When asked if that could help others decide to return, he believed it could.
“I think it’ll help for sure because we had a great team,” Barrett said. “There’s no reason to not want to try and bring it back and try to do it again, but do it even better this time. Jason Licht, he’s a world class GM, I applaud every move that he’s made since day one that I’ve been here. He’s been building steadily, now that we have a championship team, he’s trying to bring back another championship team again next year. Usually teams wins and players get let go and walk because people will usually demand a higher salary than teams are willing to pay, but we made it work.”
The Bucs still have some big name free agents they would like to re-sign, including DT Ndamukong Suh, RB Leonard Fournette, K Ryan Succop and WR Antonio Brown. Now that Barrett has re-signed, he can be a recruiter for the Bucs. He had a message for those contemplating going somewhere else vs. re-signing with Tampa Bay.
“You all know when you’re in a good spot,” Barrett said. “And you just don’t want to let that go for anything. Take advantage of this atmosphere we got down here, this camaraderie, the brotherhood. If you can make it work, make it work and come down here with your boy, because we got something special down here, for sure.”