Bucs' Shaquil Barrett wants long-term deal, but says he's fine with franchise tag

Yahoo Sports

Tampa Bay Buccaneers outside linebacker Shaquil Barrett isn’t going to make a big deal of getting the franchise tag if it comes to it.

Barrett told the Tampa Bay Times he’d much rather have a long-term deal, but unlike many other players in the league, he won’t make a stink about being designated the team’s franchise player.

Barrett expected to be franchise-tagged

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Barrett’s one-year contract is up this month and he told the Times he intends to stay in Tampa, however that happens.

“I’m going to play off the tag, I’ve got to,” Barrett said, via the Times. "But I do want that long-term deal. It’s all about security for me and my family and that’s all I’ve been wanting my whole time in the NFL is getting that security."

Shaquil Barrett will play under the franchise tag if the Bucs decide to use it. (Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Shaquil Barrett will play under the franchise tag if the Bucs decide to use it. (Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The Pro Bowl selection had 58 tackles, six forced fumbles, one interception and led the NFL in sacks with 19.5 last season, breaking Warren Sapp’s franchise record of 16.5. Barrett, 27, had a total of 14 sacks in five seasons with the Denver Broncos.

"It is important to me. It's like all my success as a starter is down here and it's not broke. There's no reason for me to want to try to go fix something that's not broke," Barrett said, via NFL Network. "So, I'm on board, but I still do understand it's a business so I am preparing for anything. Emotionally, I think it's going to be down in Tampa."

Barrett expected to quadruple salary

Barrett signed a one-year, $4 million contract with the Bucs last season. It was approximately what he made in his entire Broncos rookie contract, per Spotrac. His salary is now expected to quadruple.

If he does sign a long-term contract, Sportrac estimates his market value at a $15.7 million average annual salary (four years, $63 million), ranking fourth for outside linebackers.

The franchise tag would give him an estimated salary between $16 million and $19 million, per the Times. Based on projections for 2020 by OverTheCap.com, the franchise tag for linebackers is $16.266 million.

The Bucs are expected to use the tag on him by the Monday deadline, instead of using it on quarterback Jameis Winston.

Franchise tag typically not players’ favorite

Players don’t typically say they want to get the franchise tag, or even act as if they would be OK with it. It has resulted in players sitting out training camps — and that can stretch deep into the season — as well as contentious negotiations between players’ camps and teams.

That issue is bubbling in Dallas, where quarterback Dak Prescott has yet to come to a new contract agreement with the Cowboys.

There are two type of franchise tags. The exclusive tag guarantees the player a one-year contract at an average of the top five salaries at the position. The non-exclusive tag does similarly, but allows a player to negotiate with other teams. The team can match any other offers, and if they allow the player to leave, his former team gets two first-round draft picks as compensation.

From the player’s perspective, it doesn’t guarantee long-term security even if it can come with a big pay raise, as is the case for Barrett. It’s also a move forced on the player by the team when he could be negotiating a contract somewhere else.

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