Barrett, a pending unrestricted free agent, may not be able to garner the type of payday he's aiming for through either the franchise tag or a long-term deal with Tampa Bay, Jenna Laine of ESPN.com reports. Barrett's situation will be one of the most intriguing to monitor this offseason for a Buccaneers roster that has several big names on the cusp of unrestricted free agency. After breaking out for a career-high 19.5 sacks in 2019, Barrett's sack total fell to eight in 2020 while he played under a $15.8 million franchise tag. Barrett proclaimed he would be returning to the defending champions in the aftermath of Tampa Bay's Super Bowl LV win over the Chiefs, but as Laine notes, there could be some hurdles to clear when it comes to compensation. A second consecutive application of the tag seems unrealistic for Barrett, who would earn a 120 percent raise from last year's salary that would result in a cap hit of $19 million. That would seem to make a multi-year contract the logical alternative, though that too could present some issues for the Buccaneers since the Chargers' Joey Bosa upped the ante for top-shelf edge rushers with the extension he signed last summer that averages $27 million per season.
Barrett, who recorded a sack on his only tackle Sunday during the Buccaneers' 31-9 win over the Chiefs during Super Bowl LV, finished the 2020 regular season with 57 tackles (43 solo), eight sacks, three defensed passes and two forced fumbles across 15 games. Barrett was never expected to replicate his career-best 19.5-sack effort from 2019, so the fact he took the quarterback down 11.5 fewer times in 2020 -- albeit in one fewer game -- isn't an indication of a substandard performance by any stretch. In fact, Barrett was actually just as effective on the tackle front, and he also was still plenty disruptive as an edge rusher. The 28-year-old had a particularly significant impact in the NFC Championship Game win over the Packers, showing shades of his elite 2019 form by bringing Aaron Rodgers down on three occasions. Barrett played the 2020 season on the franchise tag after he and the Buccaneers were unable to come to terms on a long-term deal last offseason. The two sides could again discuss an extension this offseason, but if a deal can't be reached, Barrett would be a candidate to receive the franchise tag for a second straight year.
Barrett recorded five tackles (four solo), including three sacks, and was credited with an additional quarterback hit during the Buccaneers' 31-26 win over the Packers in Sunday's NFC Championship Game. Following a league-leading 19.5 sacks in 2019, Barrett recorded a modest eight this past regular season. However, the veteran linebacker flashed dominant form often Sunday, much to the chagrin of Aaron Rodgers. Barrett's trio of sacks were his first since Week 14, a game win in which he'd gotten to the Vikings' Kirk Cousins on a pair of occasions. Barrett's considerable pass-rushing acumen figures to be vitally important to the Buccaneers' chances of slowing down Patrick Mahomes and his potent cache of offensive weaponry during Super Bowl LV on Sunday, Feb. 7.
Barrett was activated from the reserve/COVID-19 list Wednesday, Carmen Vitali of the Buccaneers' official site reports. Barrett is ready to suit up for Saturday's wild-card matchup against Washington. The linebacker has posted 57 tackles (43 solo), eight sacks and two forced fumbles this season.
Barrett was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list Friday and won't be able to play Sunday against the Falcons, Tom Pelissero of NFL Network reports. Barrett is considered a close contact to teammate Devin White, who was revealed to have tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday. The edge rusher would still have a chance of suiting up for Tampa Bay's wild-card matchup next weekend, so long as he continues to post negative test results. The Buccaneers have already secured a playoff spot, but any sort of postseason absence from Barrett would undoubtedly be a blow to the NFL's seventh-ranked scoring defense.
|* indicates player did not play that week|