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Division Champ Releases Two-Time Pro Bowler, Should Have FA Interest

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers released two-time Pro Bowler Shaq Barrett, but it shouldn't be long before he signs with his next team.
Shaq Barrett Next Team

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers released edge defender Shaq Barrett, putting the two-time Pro Bowler on the hunt for his next team. At the peak of his powers, Barrett was one of the most effective pass rushers in the league. After thriving in a limited role with the Denver Broncos, Tampa Bay bet that he could maintain his efficiency with a larger workload. That gamble paid off, as Barrett recorded a league-high 19.5 sacks during his first year with the club. He maintained his role as a key fixture in the defense during the Tom Brady Era and beyond, helping the team win a Super Bowl and three consecutive NFC South crowns.

However, all good things must come to an end, and the Buccaneers sent Shaq Barrett looking for his next team last Wednesday. Designating him a post-June 1st cut, the Buccaneers will save $4.9 million with the move.

Buccaneers Release Shaq Barrett, Two-Time Pro Bowler Begins Search For Next Team

Of course, just because the Buccaneers decided to release Shaq Barrett doesn’t mean that his next team won’t get a good player. This was a move of financial necessity, as the Buccaneers need to try and re-sign a top-five safety in Antoine Winfield, a good quarterback in Baker Mayfield, and a borderline Hall of Famer in Mike Evans. These players will not come cheap, and Tampa Bay will need every last penny they can find to bring these guys back.

Shaq Barrett isn’t the player he once was, but he can still be a helpful presence for his next team. Last year, the edge defender finished the season with 4.5 sacks, 52 tackles, three tackles-for-loss, nine quarterback hits, and the 42nd-best PFF grade out of 112 eligible players. In a league where everyone is looking for more pass rushers, Barrett should have a decent market.


Best Team Fits

Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jacksonville Jaguars had a player record 17.5 sacks and still found a way to finish dead last in team sacks. Josh Allen is a star, but Travon Walker is not living up to his first-overall billing. This team needs to find another pass rusher, and with Allen’s salary set to explore, they might have to settle for a cheaper veteran. Shaq Barrett is a good fit for Jacksonville and, at his age, shouldn’t break the bank for his next team.

New Orleans Saints

The New Orleans Saints will eventually restructure their way to cap compliance, but they probably won’t be able to afford top-market free agents. With this in mind, they could go after a cheap veteran to secure the edge. With Isaiah Foskey not showing much as a rookie, Shaq Barrett could make a longtime division rival his next team.

Kansas City Chiefs

The Kansas City Chiefs had one of the best defenses in football last year, but their biggest weakness was at edge. Rookie Felix Anudike-Uzomah didn’t show much of anything, and veteran Charles Omenihu is a free agent coming off a season-ending knee injury. Seeing as the team needs to break the bank to keep Chris Jones and L’Jarius Sneed, they might not have the financial resources to spend big on someone like Danielle Hunter. So, perhaps they go with a cheaper option and allow Shaq Barrett to ring chase with his next team.

Detroit Lions

The Detroit Lions have the offense to make a deep playoff run, but now they need the defense to win a Super Bowl. Aidan Hutchinson is one of the best young pass rushers in the league, but he needs a competent running back. Shaq Barrett won’t need to be the top option on his next team, but if he can provide reliable pressure on the other side of line, the defense should be a lot better.

Baltimore Ravens

The Baltimore Ravens have several starting-caliber edge defenders hitting the open market. If they’re unable to retain some or all of them, then they’ll have to reinforce the defensive line with some cost-controlled free agents. Shaq Barrett is a perfect fit for the job and, just like in Kansas City, having Baltimore be his next team will allow him to chase after another championship.

Main Photo: Jim Dedmon – USA Today Sports


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