After months of speculation, Shaquil Barrett has reached an agreement with the Buccaneers. Just not the one he wants.
Barrett, who led the league in sacks last season with 19.5, will sign his franchise tag, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Friday. Barrett hasn't wavered on his desire to stay with the franchise, stating last month his hope to sign a long-term deal. But, as Rapoport also noted, the Pro Bowl pass rusher and Bucs brass are not close on a long-term deal.
Barrett is currently set to make $15.8 million as a linebacker in 2020 but an additional development could impact that final number. Rapoport reported that Barrett will file a grievance requesting that he be tagged as a defensive end, not linebacker, per his agent Drew Rosenhaus. Should he be reclassified, he'd make roughly an additional $2 million. Bud Dupree of the Steelers filed a similar grievance on Friday, as well.
Depth chart designation aside, Barrett was a force off the edge all last season. In his first full campaign as a starter, Barrett tallied career bests with 58 tackles and six forced fumbles, and earned a second-team All-Pro nod. He also recorded two pass deflections and the first interception of his six-year career.
With the heightened expectations surrounding Tampa Bay, securing Barrett, a pivotal piece in a pass rushing unit that includes Jason Pierre-Paul, Lavonte David and Devin White, was of the utmost importance. Now, the club has until July 15 to strike a deal to keep the 27-year-old in town long-term and away from free agency in 2021.