With wide receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin bowing out of the NFL Pro Bowl as they continue to recover from hamstring injuries, outside linebacker and pass rusher extraordinaire Shaq Barrett was the lone Bucs player representing the red and pewter at Wednesday’s first practice of the annual all-star game.
Barrett drew quite the media crowd following the NFC’s workout – and not just from the local scribes in attendance. After bursting onto the national radar with his league leading 19.5 sacks in 2019, Barrett is one of the darlings at the Pro Bowl in Orlando but is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent in March, and would be one of the mostly highly sought players on the open market if he makes it that far.
The Bucs have said numerous times Barrett “isn’t going anywhere,” and Barrett told the large media crowd on Wednesday he wants to be a Buccaneer next season – and beyond.
“Hey I am here right now, just taking advantage of this next step right now,” Barrett said. “I don’t know where it is going to end up, but I’m confident that it will be where I should be. Which I think is Tampa. It is up to Tampa Bay right now. Whatever they want to do. We are on board with them. Our plan is to get whatever we can out of anybody. But we are planning on Tampa. I am planning on Tampa.”
The NFL’s top pass rushers have been pushing north of $20 million per season on recent deals. Barrett was asked if he had a number in mind as far as what he wants or expects to make in 2020.
“I am not thinking about exact values, I just know whatever it is, it is going to set me and my family up for the rest of our lives,” Barrett said. “And to take care of my kids and their kids.
“I am just ready to get it done and start building my life in Tampa.”