Lock Him Up!

February 24th, 2021

“Do the right thing, Bucs.”

This is a complete and total no-brainer for Adam Schein.

The popular national sports TV and radio personality took to his weekly forum on NFL.com and wrote for the Bucs to look back at Free Agency 2021 with success, they simply must re-sign the franchise’s sack king, Shaq Barrett, when the free agency dinner bell rings just as Ira is digging into a plate of corned beef and cabbage.

The biggest reason the Buccaneers won the Super Bowl was their defense. Obviously credit the genius, leadership and play of the greatest winner in football history, Mr. Tom Brady. But look at what the Tampa defense did all season long in an offense-centric league. This, of course, culminated in a shockingly effective effort on Super Bowl Sunday, when the Bucs held Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs to just three field goals. And the key to this effort was Tampa’s ability to terrorize Kansas City’s injury-riddled offensive line with a four-man pass rush. Defensive coordinator Todd Bowles typically loves to blitz, but he knew his D-line could dominate on its own. And Barrett is the straw that stirs the drink.

I agreed with Jason Licht franchising Barrett last offseason. After a breakout 19.5-sack 2019 campaign, the Bucs GM wanted to make sure it wasn’t a fluke. It wasn’t. No, Barrett didn’t duplicate that sack total, but he disrupted offenses when it mattered most. Now the man deserves to get paid, a sentiment he rightfully expressed on my SiriusXM radio show a couple weeks back.

“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,” Barrett told me. “I still think I got a lot left in the tank. I’m still getting better, actually. I’m still learning.”

Shaq keeps learning and Tampa keeps winning. Make the long-term deal happen, Bucs.

Joe agrees and it is this simple:

The Bucs likely do not get to the Super Bowl without Shaq. He terrorized Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers in the NFC Championship game in a five-point victory. And he chased Chiefs quarterback Pat Mahomes around so much Shaq likely thought he had run a marathon.

There is no more important player on a defense in a passing league than a pass rusher. The Bucs have one. Surely the team isn’t silly enough to let the second prime pass rusher in a decade who wanted to stay with the team walk away for no good reason.

How’d that work out the first time?

18 Responses to “Lock Him Up!”

  1. Howard Cosell Says:

    No good reason, Joe!
    Schiano hated him.
    Not a good enough reason.

  2. Drunkinybor Says:

    100 percent agree.

  3. August 1976 Buc Says:

    It is just a fact of life in the NFL, no pass rush and you will not have a chance against the better QB’s. Like you said Joe, a defense is dead meat with a pass rush. Tag or sign Shaq and somehow keep this Defensive front 7 intact.
    You think Brady wants to see the Bucs defense weakened, think again. Brady knows the value of time to throw, if he has time he will slice up defenses. What the other teams’ WR’s do has nothing to do with that, Brady being hit and sacked. With that being said, WR is less priority than Shaq, who is a genuinely feared pass rusher that teams have to game plan for. Shaq is the kind of player that teams year after year try and draft but usually miss because teams will reach, just to get a semblance of a pass rush, that is value. GO BUCS!!!

  4. BoricuaBucFan4life Says:

    It depends on what he is asking for. He was virtually non existent during Vita Vea’s absence. Specially when there could be cheaper prospects. I like the idea of drafting his replacement in the 1st rd and signing AJ Watts

  5. geno711 Says:

    Shaq is both a run defender and as a pass-rusher for the Bucs.

    He sets a hard edge that Anthony Nelson just does not do as of yet. He obviously has a variety of moves. I say it is important to keep him.

    The 4 guys that we had “rushing the passer” and ultimately responsible for “plugging the run” game were: Suh, Vea, Shaq and JPP.

    That is the best version of this team and we know it works. Other guys besides Shaq may work but we are just hoping at that point and not knowing.

    What is nice about Suh, Vea, Shaq and JPP are none of the 4 are one dimensional. What is also nice about Suh, Vea, Shaq and JPP is they play a high amount of snaps and you do not have to take them off the field that much to put in lesser players.

    There are many ways to be successful in the NFL yet we have a good formula; why mess with it.

    If we get a college pass rush specialist at the end of the 1st round are we confident that this coming year he will be effective at either the run or pass. Shaq was a complete player for us these last two years.

  6. Defense Rules Says:

    Excellent rationale Geno711 & I agree that we MUST find a way to keep Shaq. AND to keep Suh, because it’s the 4 of them TOGETHER that allow this DLine to dominate. Their productivity TOGETHER is off the charts.

    I’m still wary though of slapping a franchise tag on Shaq. Last year OK; Bucs weren’t 100% convinced that Shaq was THE ANSWER. Well we now know that he is; 19.5 sacks in 2019 followed by 8 sacks in 2020’s regular season games & 4 more in the playoffs. That’s the real deal, so we need to pay him to keep him. Unfortunately franchise tagging Shaq would cost 120% of his 2020 salary ($15.8 mil) so we’d owe him $19 mil. Bucs would be a LOT better off working out a real contract for say 4 yrs, even if the ‘average’ came out to that (better able to minimize the 2021 CAP hit).

  7. Señor Harry in Costa Rica Says:

    TOTALLY agree Joe. Let me add one more to the list of why we need to sign Shaq long term. How long are JPP’s knees going to hold up? I love JPP, love his fight and desire. But when those knees go, the Bucs will be down to ONE legit EDGE rusher.

  8. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    I totally agree…..Keep Shaq……rather than Godwin (can’t keep both)….Godwin will be easier to replace…..hurts but necessary.

    Keep this defense together and Brady will perform with our offense.

    And Joe, this time there would be a good reason….$20 million of them.

  9. Sport Says:

    At least it’s Linebacker money and not DE money. Much more palatable. Nothing against the man wanting to get paid, but this was a team win. Go by the way of winning championships (Brady) or by the way of mercenary (Revis).

    In BA I Trust!

  10. Bird Says:

    I trust licht and coaches

    Im sure they have gotten together many times and gave their ranking of free agents that need to stay along with expected cost.

    Bowles is the master mind of the defense
    I know he wants his defense back. But im sure he knows which guys are crucial to his game plan and which guys can be replaced with another

    Like the john lynch story about dungy and sapp

    On offense side , im sure leftwich with an assist of brady is pushing hard for godwin and gronk in a big way.

  11. Bird Says:


    No its edge rusher money
    Shaq and agent want something in 20-22 mil range
    Bucs want to pay closer to 15-17 mil range.

    Did you guys know joey bosa makes 27 mil a year. Holy smokes. So maybe the bucs should listen to shaq a little.

    Dont forget. The league is going to 17 game season. Now the gms/owners will try and spin this like its just moving a preseason game to regular season. It couldnt be farther from the truth. Nfl stars dont really do preseason. I think its overkill for 17 games. Guys have hard time enough being injury free an entire. Season. Thats why nothing compares to football. Its the gladiator sport for sure. Thats why these guys will be looking for more money/ bigger deals with putting their health on the lines for an extra game. Time for long term deals for our important players.

  12. Rick Says:

    Only so much money to go around, if you had to pick between Shaq, Vita Vea, and JPP who gets left out?

  13. Rico 210 Says:

    @Rick all three thank you. Vea and JPP are still under contract. Just need to sign SB long term
    Go Bucs

  14. Cobraboy Says:

    When I hear “set my family up” I realize this person is a financial Mo Ron.

    Barrett made $15.8 million in 2020 alone. After taxes he kept half. Investing in simple equities or even an annuity would return $25-40,000 PER MONTH FOR THE REST OF HIS LIFE at 3-5%.

    He’s already set up unless he wants to be a dumba$$ and spend it like a drunken sailor on shore leave like some athlete brainiacs.

  15. TSmitty300 Says:

    The Bucs cannot let Shaq hit free agency. Give the man 20 million a season and keep it moving. It is so dadgum hard finding premium pass rushers in their prime on the market or in the draft. Von Miller and JJ Watt are both available on the market, but both are past their respective primes. Neither would have hit free agency during their prime years. Plus, you will have to suck to be n position to draft a premium player at that position. Of course, there are exceptions like Shaq; however Shaq is the exception for a reason. I say get it done

  16. SickofLosing Says:

    Gotta keep Shaq. Defense still wins championships. But the Bucs better draft a replacement for JPP and also a VV alternative. VV has missed too much time already in his 3 year career. The need for added depth on the d-line is clear.

  17. m0j0 Says:

    I agree. Shaq must be on this team next season, whatever else may happen.

  18. David Smythe Says:

    Actually I think he can be replaced. That is because the pressure he and JPP applied was because of Vita Vea. When Vita was out they where none existent, when he returned they blew up the backfield!!