Shaq Barrett is set to hit free agency after dominating during Super Bowl LV for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The 2019 All-Pro is free to find a new team and he says he's looking for a huge contract. That makes sense, considering he had 27.5 sacks over the last two seasons and completely dominated in the postseason this year.
Barrett is one of the NFL's elite edge rushers and is still only 28-years-old. He's won two Super Bowls and has only missed four games during his six-year career. He would bolster any team in need of help on the defensive line.
Here's a look a five possible destinations for Barrett in free agency.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Bucs aren't "running it back," they're "going for two" according to head coach Bruce Arians and that means they want to bring everyone back. Losing Barrett would be a huge blow to Tampa Bay's defense, especially after that stunning showing in the Super Bowl. He was an absolute beast against the Kansas City Chiefs and had Patrick Mahomes running for his life. He had one sack in the Super Bowl, but had eight pressures and hit Mahomes four times. Add in the three sacks he had in the NFC Championship Game and he was arguably the team's playoff MVP.
It'll be costly for the Bucs to bring Barrett back. They enter the offseason with $30 million in cap space and a ton of free agents to re-sign. It'll be dicey, but no one is more motivated to secure his services than his current team.
The Bengals are in the middle of a massive rebuild and need players to build around. They got their quarterback by selecting Joe Burrow in last year's draft and must now turn their attention to building up both lines. Cincinnati finished dead last in the NFL in sacks in 2020 with only 17. That's pathetic and needs to be addressed. Barrett is a pressure machine and could create an instant pass rush that would help open things up for the rest of the defensive front.
The Bengals have plenty of room to bring in Barrett. They are currently set to have $45.5 million in cap space. With Carl Lawson hitting free agency, they really don't have a solid pass rusher on the roster. It's a desperate need that must be filled.
The Titans simply could not get to the quarterback in 2020. They finished 30th in the NFL in sacks with 19. As the offense has become a big-time strength of the team, Tennessee needs to step thing up on the defensive side of the ball. During the 2020 season, the defense ranked 28th in the NFL in yards allowed. Barrett would be the kind of defensive linchpin that could help turn things around.
The Jadeveon Clowney experiment didn't work in Tennessee, so it's time to go in a different direction. The Titans don't have much cap space right now, but there are several potential cuts or contract restructures that could be done to make room for Barrett. We'll see how it plays out but as far as "need" this is a big-time fit.
New York Jets
The Jets have holes all over their roster and with Robert Saleh in town things have to change. Saleh built his ferocious defenses with the 49ers around dominant defensive lines, and that starts with finding top talent like Barrett. The Jets finished 21st in the NFL with 31 sacks. That's not good enough for a team without much else to lean on and they don't have elite pass rushers on the roster.
The Jets enter the offseason with $75.5 million in cap space. That is an incredible amount of cash to play with and Barrett is completely worth the money as a leader off the edge. They could even use a ton of draft capital to surround him with some talented defensive players as well. This fit works, given what Saleh will need and what Barrett does well.
The Jaguars were pitiful on defense in 2020, ranking 31st in total yards allowed and 31st in sacks (18). Urban Meyer is coming to down to completely change things and he has the No. 1 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft and an NFL-high $79.6 million in cap space to work with. The Jags need new blood on defense to build around and Barrett is a perfect fit.
Josh Allen is a supremely talented defensive end who put up 10.5 sacks in a Pro Bowl campaign as rookie in 2019, but battled a knee injury in 2020 that limited him to eight games. Adding Barrett to the line across from him would create a elite pass rushing tandem. It makes sense and the Jaguars clealy have the ability to Barrett a ton of money, clearly a priority for the pass rusher.