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Shaq Barrett Free Agent Team Fits

Shaq Barrett could very well be the best free agent pass rusher on the market and should have no shortage of suitors this offseason.
Shaq Barrett Free Agent

Every team in the NFL wants to improve their pass rush, and Shaq Barrett is one of the best options on the open market. After spending the majority of his time in Denver as a backup, the former undrafted free agent proved that he can thrive in a featured role. He led the league in sacks in 2019 and was one of the most important players on the 2020 Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He will have no shortage of suitors, but a few teams make more sense than others.

Shaq Barrett Free Agent Landing Spots

Dallas Cowboys

The Dallas Cowboys had one of the worst defenses in the NFL last year by just about every metric. While Demarcus Lawrence remained elite, every other part of the Dallas defense failed to do much of anything. While Dak Prescott was healthy, the Cowboys defense allowed a staggering 36 points per game and ranked 26th in EPA/play allowed.

According to OverTheCap, the Cowboys currently have $18.4 million in available cap space. Dak Prescott’s inevitable extension will eat into that number, but the Cowboys will probably be able to afford both Prescott and Barrett if they truly desired to do so. Combining Barrett and Lawrence would give the Cowboys arguably the best pass-rushing duo in football while masking several issues on the back end.

New York Giants

The New York Giants quietly had one of the better defenses in the NFL last year. However, the unit lacked an elite pass rusher, and Shaq Barrett could take this defense from good to great as a free agent. Last year, Leonard Williams led the team with 30 quarterback hits and 11.5 sacks. Nobody else on the roster had more than 10 hits and four sacks.

Williams is a free agent, and the Giants will need somebody to replace that pass-rushing threat if he walks. Williams is a defensive tackle, while Barrett typically lines up wide, so the Giants could easily add both players, if the money makes sense. However, if not, then New York can slide Dexter Lawrence inside and still have a great pass rush duo with Barrett.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Needless to say, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers would love to have Shaq Barrett in town for the long haul. Since joining the Buccaneers, Barrett has recorded 27.5 sacks, 53 quarterback hits, eight forced fumbles, and one interception. Barrett was arguably the most important defensive player during Tampa Bay’s Super Bowl run, and the Buccaneers will make a big push to bring him back.

Right now, Tampa Bay has three major players set to hit free agency: Chris Godwin, Lavonte David, and Shaq Barrett. ESPN’s Adam Schefter and NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport already said that Godwin will be back next year, whether it’s via the franchise tag or a long-term extension. This means that there is a good shot that one of David or Barrett will be gone next year. Considering David’s value as an elite linebacker and emotional leader of the team, my money is on Barrett being most likely to hit the open market.

New England Patriots

The New England Patriots typically don’t spend big in free agency, but that might change in 2020. After two decades of unprecedented success, New England missed the playoffs during the first year of the post-Tom Brady Era. Now armed with $62.7 million in cap space and a desire that he’s not a product of Tom Brady, Bill Belichick is going to go wild this offseason. The last time something like this happened, Belichick signed Adalius Thomas to a massive free agent contract, and history could be repeating itself.

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Minnesota Vikings

The Minnesota Vikings are currently $7.6 million over the cap, so they’d have to move some money around before entering the Shaq Barrett sweepstakes. That said, Mike Zimmer is all about getting to the passer and winning in the trenches, which is something the Vikings could not do in 2020. Trading for Yannick Ngakoue did not pan out, and Minnesota had one of the weaker defensive lines in the league. Shaq Barrett would immediately fix this problem, and his work in the NFC Championship Game shows that he’s able to consistently get pressure against division rival Aaron Rodgers.

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