Buccaneers' Shaq Barrett on next contract: 'I feel like it's time for me to break the bank now'
NFL 

Near the conclusion of Wednesday’s Super Bowl victory parade, coach Bruce Arians explicitly declared the most vital of Tampa Bay Buccaneers free agents would return to make another run at back-to-back Lombardis.

 “Your ass ain’t going nowhere,” Arians repeatedly told players. 

 Now it’s on the Bucs’ management team to find room under an expected shrinking salary cap to keep the likes of Shaquil Barrett, Chris Godwin, Lavonte David, etc.

 Barrett, who played under the franchise tag in Tampa in 2020, is looking for his first lucrative long-term deal.

 The 28-year-old told Adam Schein on SiriusXM’s Mad Dog Sports Radio on Thursday that he feels he’s earned that big contract.

 “I’m most definitely looking forward to getting a long-term deal done…” Barrett told Schein. “I feel like it’s time for me to break the bank now, and I most definitely want to do that to be able to set my family up better and most definitely going to keep producing, so it’s not like anything is going to fall off. I still think I got a lot left in the tank. I’m still getting better, actually. I’m still learning, like just still learning, like week in, week out. And there’s like, as you can see as the season progressed like … I ended the season playing the way that I wanted to play. And you can see that I did progress throughout the season, and I’m still progressing.”

After playing a rotational role in Denver for five seasons as an undrafted free, Barrett exploded in his two seasons in Tampa. In 2019, he generated an NFL-high 19.5 sacks. This year he had another eight QB takedowns and added another four in the postseason run. Barrett played a massive role in the Bucs taking down Patrick Mahomes in the Super Bowl, earning a sack and four QB hits.

After playing for $15.8 million on the franchise tender in 2020, a second franchise tag would cost the Bucs nearly $19 million in 2021. There is a middle ground for Barrett to make big long-term money, and Tampa, which has a decent chunk of projected cap space compared to much of the league, not to go over the top to keep him in town.  

Barrett told Schein he does hope to stick with the Bucs if they can make the numbers work.

“I mean, I do still want to have a great fit for me and a great fit for the family,” he said. “So whatever that, like, that turns out to be. But I do want, I want to be, I want to be here. I think we got a great team here, a great organization here. So we will definitely go on just to see how it works out and shake up. But, I’m looking forward to trying to get something done here.”

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