TAMPA, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ quest to “go for two,” as coach Bruce Arians put it, has become much more attainable.
Moments after Monday’s free-agent negotiating period opened, the reigning Super Bowl champions and star pass-rusher Shaquil Barrett agreed to a four-year deal worth up to $72 million that includes $36 million fully guaranteed, his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Sources told ESPN that the base deal averages $17 million per season with escalators that push it to $18 million per year. Those escalators include 15 sacks and reaching the playoffs the year before. His base salary in 2021 will be just $1.25 million, and he has an $18.75 million signing bonus prorated over five years to lower his salary-cap charge with a voidable fifth year, according to sources.
Sources also told ESPN that Barrett’s salary-cap hit for 2021 is under $6 million. The Bucs entered Monday with $14 million in cap space.
Barrett posted a photo of himself from last month’s championship celebration on Instagram, writing he is “so excited to be a part of [the Bucs organization] for 4 more years.”
Barrett played last season under the $15.8 million franchise tag and recorded eight sacks in 15 games, and he led the NFL with 74 pressures, according to ESPN Stats & Information. The former Pro Bowler was recently rated as the ninth-best available free agent by ESPN.
Barrett was outstanding during Tampa Bay’s championship run, recording three sacks in the NFC Championship Game and another one in Super Bowl LV to go along with his four hits on Chiefs star quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
Barrett’s deal positions Tampa Bay to still make moves after franchise-tagging wide receiver Chris Godwin for $15.808 million, re-signing inside linebacker Lavonte David to a two-year deal worth $25 million, and re-signing backup inside linebacker and special-teams captain Kevin Minter for the league minimum.
The Bucs were more than $5 million over the cap last week until Tom Brady signed an extension that freed up $19 million in cap space, paving the way for Barrett’s deal.
But there’s still more to do, as tight end Rob Gronkowski, defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh, wide receiver Antonio Brown, kicker Ryan Succop and running back Leonard Fournette are all unsigned.
Sources close to the situation reaffirmed what Barrett said just after last month’s Super Bowl victory — that Tampa Bay is where he and his family wanted to be. Barrett had called Tampa Bay the “perfect match.”
Before joining the Bucs ahead of the 2019 season on a one-year prove-it deal worth $5 million, Barrett was merely a rotational player with the Denver Broncos who had signed with the club as an undrafted free agent in 2014.
But Barrett, 28, flourished in Tampa Bay in his first year as a full-time starter, leading the NFL with 19.5 sacks in 2019. He has 41.5 sacks, 15 forced fumbles and 266 tackles in 92 regular-season games over seven seasons.
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