The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have officially placed the non-exclusive franchise tag on edge rusher Shaquil Barrett. Barrett challenged the single season NFL record for sacks with 19.5 while playing on a one-year deal. His projected 2020 salary is $15.829 million under the franchise tag.
The non-exclusive franchise tag means that another team could still present him with a new contract. Tampa Bay would have seven days to match the offer. If they declined, they would receive two first round picks from the team with whom he signed. The projected salary is essentially calculated by averaging the top five salaries at Barrett's position in 2019.
Barrett was an undrafted free agent out of Colorado State in 2014. After winning one Super Bowl in four seasons with the Denver Broncos, the Boys Town, Nebraska native signed a one-year 'prove it' deal in Tampa Bay worth $4 million. He parlayed that into his best season as a professional: 58 tackles, 19.5 sacks, six forced fumbles, one interception and two pass deflections. He had 14 career sacks leading up to the 2019 season. The 27-year-old was named a second team All-Pro and was selected to his first Pro Bowl following the most recent season.
Tampa Bay likely felt that a franchise tag was the best option at this particular point in time because he is essentially a one year wonder. If Barrett continues his elite play, he should be in line for a long-term contract extension next offseason.
The decision to franchise tag Barrett means quarterback Jameis Winston is likely to hit free agency. The NFC South franchise has been linked to veterans Tom Brady and Philip Rivers. Entering the day Monday, the Buccaneers had the second most salary cap space (appox. $81.3 million) in the NFL, according to Spotrac.com.
The Ravens (edge rusher Matt Judon), Broncos (safety Justin Simmons), Jaguars (edge rusher Yannick Ngakoue), Chargers (tight end Hunter Henry), Chiefs (defensive tackle Chris Jones), Redskins (offensive guard Brandon Scherff), Bengals (wide receiver A.J. Green), Titans (running back Derrick Henry), Patriots (offensive guard Joe Thuney), Cowboys (quarterback Dak Prescott) and Giants (defensive lineman Leonard Williams) have already used the franchise tag designation.
The new league year is expected to start on time Mar. 18.