Find The Will, Find A Way

March 10th, 2021

Bill Currie Ford is a Tampa tradition since 1959. They’re awesome Bucs fans and so charitable in the community. Shop now at New year, new deals! And remember their nationwide lifetime warranty on new and used vehicles. Ira loves his 2020 Ford Escape, cherry red.


The Bucs are on the brink of completing the free-agent trifecta. Two down, one to go.

It was fashionable to characterize Tampa Bay’s list of potential free agents as the Big Eight — and all the rest. That list included Ndamukong Suh, Leonard Fournette and Ryan Succop, but let’s be real … three names reigned at the forefront.

Shaq Barrett, Chris Godwin, Lavonte David. Put ’em in any order you please, but you’ve got to acknowledge this trio as a cut above the rest.

Godwin was slapped with the franchise tag, David was awarded a contract extension and now Buc Nation is holding its breath to see if Barrett will be allowed to test the marketplace.

Open the vault, says Ira.

Not bloody likely.

There’s already a story by veteran reporter Albert Breer that the Bucs are in negotiations to retain their dynamic 28-year-old pass rusher.

“Barrett won’t come cheap,” Breer says, and he’s certainly correct in that regard.

When free agency officially opens on the afternoon of March 17, Barrett should be judged the premier player available — if the Bucs don’t lock him up first. He’s in his prime and excels at a prime position. What’s not to like?

Nobody expected Barrett to register a league-leading 19.5 sacks again in 2020. He was no longer a surprise, so Barrett commanded extra resources and his production dropped.

But when January rolled around, Barrett led the way for a pass rush that relentlessly hounded Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers and Patrick Mahomes.

If the Bucs allow Barrett to test the market, consider him gone. And his departure would raise serious doubts about Tampa Bay’s ability to become the first team since the 2004 Patriots to successfully defend an NFL championship.

Top Dog

Gregg Rosenthal, who writes for the league’s official website, ranks Barrett as the No. 2 target in free agency, behind only veteran tackle Trent Williams. That’s nonsense. Williams turns 33 in July and he’s missed 15 games in the past four seasons.

Barrett has proven to be both durable and impactful. It was a case of grand theft when the Bucs stole him from Denver two years ago and it would be a crime to let Barrett escape the walls of One Buc Place next week.

The Bucs aren’t in great shape regarding the salary cap, but there are ways to fit Barrett in. If there’s a will, there’s a way.

Don’t worry about Gronk, Ira writes.

Retaining Succop and Suh shouldn’t break the bank. Succop deserves a nice raise after making $1.05 million last year while Suh has to know 34-year-old defensive tackles don’t command the big bucks.

Rob Gronkowski will either play for the Bucs or retire. That’s just the way it is.

And if Fournette and Antonio Brown prove to be the odd men out, so be it. Tampa Bay can add a pass-catching back in the offseason to complement Ronald Jones while Brown’s potential departure would give second-year pro Tyler Johnson more opportunities to gain Tom Brady’s trust.

Many Reasons

Yes, it’s all about Shaq Barrett now.

The decision to franchise Godwin instead of Barrett suggests Licht feels confident he can work out a deal with Barrett’s agent. The numbers have to work and the numbers will be very high, but Barrett needs to be retained.

Here’s why:

He’s the guy who dropped Rodgers three times in the NFC title game. Without Barrett’s onslaught that day, Buc fans might have spent the entire offseason bemoaning Brady’s three interceptions at Lambeau.

He’s the guy who sacked Mahomes and hit him four times in the Super Bowl.

He’s the guy who can collapse the pocket from either side.

He’s the guy Todd Bowles builds his rush around.

And at the moment, he’s the guy who has the full attention of Licht, Bruce Arians, Bowles and the Glazers.

Ira!  … Ira’s good friend Sean Sullivan, the Bill Currie Ford general manager, is ready to help you personally. Just call, email or stop in, one mile north of Raymond James Stadium.

25 Responses to “Find The Will, Find A Way”

  1. Im not tired anymore we Super Bowl Champs!! Says:

    Pay that man his money!

  2. REDZONE BA Says:

    I can finally say I trust that JL will do whatever is best for the Bucs and JL has a strategy. And this comment is from someone who was brutal on JL in his first few years with constant 2nd round busts and signing locker room killers in Swaggy pine tree humper and Mesean Jackson.

    But JL has been masterful in the last few years with the roster strategy so if he signs Shaq, then GREAT and if JL opts to let Shaq test the market and Shaq signs elsewhere, then I trust that JL has a solid backup plan in place. Count me as a poster and fan who will be glad when the Shaq drama is over.

    Shaq has earned the right to demand what the market will pay, and if JL chooses to match the price – great. I’m fine with letting go of AB, Lenny, Suh and even Succop to keep the Big 3.

  3. DoooshLaRue Says:

    You make a very strong case Ira.

  4. REDZONE BA Says:

    ps – nice post @Ira!

  5. BuucccNASTY Says:

    I’m with you Joe, sign Shaq and figure out the rest. Gronk will come back cause moneys not the number one reason he’s here. Now it may not be worth it to him to play for peanuts considering his history of health, but if he still wants to chase rings with Tommy Boy it’s gunna be right here in Tampa. I don’t see how we don’t push the cap for Succop, just too cheap of a position to skimp on at this point, they’ll find a way. Would love if suh took a discount to stay, but idk his days of getting paid are numbered and it’ll be interesting to see what kinda wages he’ll command. Lenny has been one of my fav RBs since LSU, and it was an honor to watch him tote the Pewter and Red and TRANSFORM into Playoff Lenny right in front of our eyes on a January to remember forever, but like you said he’s the odd man out at a position you can get creative with. AB tho falls into the Gronk class but for different reasons… IF.. and only if, another team saw enough last year (which someone probably has) to sign him to a decent contract he’s gone. But with all his legal issues idk if a team will bank on him to be there come playoffs, I really like the idea of someone doing so tho and cutting him due to issues off the field and then Tommy shooting him a quick call on speed dial to say “Hey come bunk up with me and the family, we got a jersey ready for you” come mid season. He proved talented enough to get on the field in one of the most star studded offenses we’ve seen mid-season. So I think he’ll be back eventually… but yea that about covers it

  6. KnoxvilleBuc Says:

    Shaq is a must. No question about it. Having a pass rush is the only way to be legitimate playoff/Super Bowl contender in the passing era. With or without Vea, Shaq was a game changer. In the end if Shaq comes or doesn’t come back youth needs to be added upfront and in the pass rushing positions.

  7. REDZONE BA Says:

    Just spitballing here – as I have not given much thought to Shaq’s potential landing spots to “break the bank”. Who could be the suitors competing with Bucs for Shaq’s services?

    Wondering if Gruden and Mayock will chase Shaq? They love shiny toys…and D is where the Raiders are hurting. Thoughts?

  8. Snook Says:

    Agree we have to sign Shaq. But some of the crap written above is revisionist history. He was absent for a lot of games. Reading this sounds like he had 40 sacks on the season.

  9. BuucccNASTY Says:

    Miami is the most likely, but just look at a list of available cap room per team and you’ll be able to see for yourself.

  10. TampaTown Says:

    I’m not tired: Rounders? Great movie!

  11. Destinjohnny Says:

    Got to get Lenny
    This way we can draft straight defense

  12. REDZONE BA Says:

    BNasty – not really checking out the cap room for other teams. Agree – Miami sounds right though with their rebuild. Based on what I am reading from Draft Board predictions ( a joke right now – but fun to read) Miami may be Univ of Alabama South FL. Some predict both Davonta Parker (wr) and Najee (RB) for Miami in 1st round, so picking up Shaq as FA on D would be great for Miami.

  13. REDZONE BA Says:

    ps BucNasty – those LSU players have worked out pretty good for Bucs… If I’m JL, I looking hard @ drinking from that well again in 2021 Draft for Bucs.

  14. Jo_mama Says:

    Let him go.

    Gronk. AB are worth more.

  15. Aaron Says:

    If we lose him…I’m interested in what he gets…maybe he gets $25mill + …good for him…mostly just not with the Bucs

  16. BillyBucFan Says:

    I don’t think it’s up to the BUCS if he truly wants to BREAK THE BANK.
    Buvs aren’t paying this guy 25 Million a year of someone offers that.

    He may want to test the market then negotiate. Problem is his replacement might be gone.

  17. tbbucs3 Says:

    No Shaq no Superbowl.

  18. gotbbucs Says:

    If it’s anywhere close to $25 million just let him walk. That’s ridiculous.

  19. REDZONE BA Says:

    JL went for broke in 2020 and it paid off. BA wants another SB regardless of cost to “future” ; and JL got a sweet taste of success.

    I would not be surprised to see JL sign Shaq to a killer contract to win a repeat SB. JL likely has a backup plan, but expect that JL’s goal is to resign Shaq at all costs to win again. And as I posted earlier, if JL passes on resigning Shaq, am confident JL has a solid backup plan that will work. We have a killer D with White, LD, Antoine, Vea as our core.

  20. SB : Your comment is awaiting moderation. Says:

    Shaq played 13 games without Vita in the middle. He got 6 sacks in those games.
    He played 7 games with Vita in the middle. He got 6 sacks in those games.
    For anyone to say Vita doesn’t step Shaq’s game up is pure idiocy.
    Sure as the sun rises in the East Shaq would have had at least 6 more sacks had Vita not gotten hurt.
    “Simple as that”

  21. Buxszntkt Says:

    You said it Joe, and since Vea will be healthy, Barrett should remain effective !

  22. yar Says:

    A big part of Barret’s success is JPP. Along with Vea teams can’t block them all.

  23. 1sparkybuc Says:

    Is Shaq a star without JPP, Vea, and Suh? He was a backup in Denver. What would he be on a team that sucked on the DL? More important to keep Suh, Succup, Gronk, and maybe Brown. The Bucs still have a top 10 defense without Shaq. We have the right coaches to adjust to any options. I’m fine letting Shaq break somebody else’s bank. We need youth in both lines.

  24. Dick LeBeau Jr. Says:

    Sorry, but still not sold. We can get 8 sacks from someone else and I’ll continue to say that. If he leaves, he will not be the same player. He didn’t win the starting job in Denver when he had the opportunity. Coaching and scheme matters. I don’t care if he leaves or stays. He’s good, but he’s not elite.

  25. Buczilla Says:

    Awesome stuff Ira. I am gonna be one depressed mofo if Shaq leaves.