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FORT COLLINS, Colo. — Show (Shaq) the money!
Originally reported by Adam Schefter and confirmed by the team this morning, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have placed the non-exclusive franchise tender on Shaquil Barrett. This ultimately means that Barrett can still negotiate with other teams but Tampa Bay will have an opportunity to match any offer he receives.
More importantly, if Barrett were to sign elsewhere and that offer is not matched, the team that signs him will have to send the Buccaneers a pair of first round picks. If Barrett signs the one-year franchise tender, though, his salary will be be based on an average of the top five paid players at his position last season.
As Scott Smith laid out on the Buccaneers official website, Tampa Bay will continue to work towards a multi-year contract with Barrett, even after placing the franchise tender on him.
According to an interview that Barrett did with the Tampa Bay Times, the former CSU superstar is hoping to lock down a long-term contract but would be willing to play on the franchise tag if necessary.
“I’m going to play off the tag, I’ve got to,” Barrett told Rick Stroud. “But I do want that long-term deal. It’s all about security for me and my family and that’s all I’ve been wanting my whole time in the NFL is getting that security.”
Considering Barrett led the NFL with 19.5 sacks in 2019 after playing on an extremely team friendly one-year contract, it makes total sense that he wants to secure his future. As a former undrafted free agent, Barrett has had to scrap for everything throughout his professional career.
An even after consistently proving himself over the last five years — like contributing significantly in Denver’s Super Bowl 50 run and out-playing Shane Ray over the course of their respective careers — Barrett has still yet to cash in on a truly lucrative deal at the next level.
When Denver drafted Bradley Chubb in the first round in 2018, it sealed Barrett’s fate with the Broncos. After setting the franchise record for sacks in a single season with Tampa Bay, though, it’s pretty clear that Barrett has found a spot where he’s appreciated.
By placing the tender on Barrett, the Buccaneers are choosing to let quarterback Jameis Winston hit the open market. Putting Winston’s erratic career aside, the fact that Tampa Bay has decided to commit itself to Barrett rather than a QB that they used the No. 1 overall pick on in 2015, speaks volumes to how much the Buccaneers value what the edge rusher brings to the table.
CSU fans of course will continue to cheer on all of Barrett’s successes. During his three seasons with the Rams, Barrett was one of the most productive players in program history with 246 total tackles, 32.5 tackles for loss, 18 sacks and seven forced fumbles.
Barrett’s most memorable moment with the green and gold came in the closing minutes of the 2013 New Mexico Bowl. With roughly two minutes left in the contest, the Rams were trailing Washington State by 8 and had zero timeouts left. All the Cougars had to do was run out the clock but Barrett was able to strip WSU running back Jeremiah Laufasa and give CSU a chance to tie the game.
In the end, CSU ended up defeating Washington State 48-45 in what is still referred to as one of the most exciting bowl games in college football history. Barrett was obviously named MVP because without his efforts, there’s no way that the Rams would have won the game.
Flash forward to 2020 and it’s crazy to think that just seven years ago, Barrett was making a name for himself at Hughes Stadium — and now he’s one of the most highly touted edge rushers in the entire league.
Regardless of how old it may make CSU fans feel to stroll down memory lane, there’s no doubt that watching Barrett continue to work his way up the ranks and finally receive the recognition that he deserves, is a good reason for everyone to feel proud to be during these stressful times.