Falling Off The Edge?

December 5th, 2023

Joe was dialed into the play of Shaq Barrett on Sunday for one specific reason.

It was because Shaq himself said he feels better this season than he did before his 2022 Achillies tear, and Shaq said he’s disappointed with his production but his body feels fantastic.

For some 31 year old athletes like Shaq, that represents the beginning of the end; you feel good but the production fades for unknown reasons.

The curveball loses some bite, the jump shots don’t fall at the same rate, the sacks and quality rushes diminish.

So Joe focused Sunday on Shaq — live and on film — to gauge Shaq’s game. Unfortunately, he didn’t do much against the lowly Panthers. Shaq looks good and is moving well, but something is missing. Shaq finished the game with one assist and no solo tackles, his second-worst output of the season.

Shaq has just three tackles for loss this season and just eight quarterback hits in 12 games. Back in 2021, Shaq had nine tackles for loss and 22 QB hits in 15 games played.

Joe has talked to Bucs officials who say Shaq has been busting his tail, and that he was super diligent in his offseason work to return from injury. The team is very much locked into keeping Shaq next season because of how his contract restructured to give the Bucs salary cap relief.

Joe really hopes to see Shaq close this season strong. An overpaid and fading old pass rusher is not what any Bucs fans wants to bank on entering 2024.

41 Responses to “Falling Off The Edge?”

  1. adam from ny Says:

    gotta give shaq next year…

    sometimes you need a little time to bounce back from surgeries…

    if shaq isn’t anywhere near what you expect next season, you move on for 2025

  2. WiseCrack Says:

    I would prefer to see Shaq and his fading production vs the same from our current #1 QB. At least Shaq can help mold the young guns. Whats Baker gonna do besides get a WR hurt and keep us from evaluating our 2rnd Draft pick who sat behind a former #1 (that is arguably better than Baker now.) and the GOAT.


  3. HC Grover Says:

    Buc officials…LOL this Bowles disaster is in a shambles.

  4. Tushar Garg Says:

    Dude just is coming back from surgery and a terrible loss. Fact that he even out there speaks volumes. Give him 2024 before we make any judgements about his future with the Bucs.

  5. Derek Says:

    Will we have an Ira Kaufman podcast this week? Would be nice to get a game reaction or something. Other Bucs content creators do podcasts everyday

  6. Capt.Tim Says:

    He may feel good, but an achillies tear ussually 2 years, if ever, to be back to normal.

    This year is pretty much a “ Salary cap hell” season anyway.
    Hope he gets his explosiveness back next year.
    New Coach, New Year, we’ll hope for the best.

    Shaq seems like a good guy. Lets not forget the emotional nightmare he’s going thru this year.

    If losing a child doesnt affect your job performance for a while, I dont know
    What would.

  7. Bobby M. Says:

    Shaq needs Diaby to take some of the focus off of him….he’s productive when 1 on 1 but hasn’t been a force since we lost JPP and Suh.

  8. Defense Rules Says:

    Shaq is 1 player who performs best when the opponent’s focus isn’t exclusively on him. He needs to be surrounded by others IOW who command attention (like Suh, JPP, etc). Right now we don’t have that & Shaq’s numbers are very ‘pedestrian’.

    Shaq’s salary CAP hit for 2024 is $14.2 mil but with a Dead CAP of $26.7 mil. Keeping him for 2024 will be very expensive for the level of production that we’re seeing, but cutting him would be infinitely MORE expensive. Because of his restructuring, Shaq’s probably safe for 2024.

    The CAP Hits for our top 4 OLBs … Shaq ($14.2 mil), Nelson ($5.4 mil), JTS ($3.6 mil) and Diaby ($1.2 mil) … TOTAL $24.4 mil for 15 sacks, 24 QB Hits & 21 TFLs through 12 games. Bucs need to find a couple more Diaby’s … and fast.

  9. Winny Testaverde Says:

    I can think of only one DE who has come back from a torn Achilles and been productive: Terrell Suggs…he’s beastly. Shaq is more speed/finesse…I seriously doubt he’s ever close to his previous production. Another bill comes due on the Super Bowl run. Brady/Bucs deserved a 2nd one; Bowles was still bumbling from his Falcons interview ( sure wish he was the Falcons coach right about now ).

  10. Thisisouryear!! Says:

    I don’t understand- why is it more expensive to cut him?

  11. Miller5252 Says:

    I get the injury and loss could be part of the issue but, his production was horribly last year before the injury. I hate saying it but it’s time for the young guys or maybe sign someone. Plus the money is needed for others like Wirfs or good ole 31

  12. Kgh4life Says:

    Shaq is done, sorry to say. He’s on the wrong side of 30 coming of an Achilles injury. He was never a physical specimen by any means but he’s used to beating guys with speed and moves.

  13. Lakeland Steve Says:

    We have to give Shaq another year. It seems he has lost a little quickness on his get off which could come back after another year of that Achilles healing. He used to beat a lot of guys right at the snap and could get the corner much easier than he is now.

  14. Marine Buc Says:

    If the Bucs cut:

    – Jenson
    – Gage
    – Barrett
    – Davis

    They will save another $30M of cap space this off-season.

  15. Mike Johnson Says:

    We all like Shaq. But it does seem as though he has lost a step. And he’s not geting much help from his D line either. This years pass rush has been the worse we Buc fans have seen in quite a while. No sack leaders and very few sacks at all.

  16. Joshua porter Says:

    @marine I can definitely get on board with that. Something other than coaching has to change. Either our Nicole back really sucks or we need new corners. Probably both. Go bucs

  17. adam from ny Says:

    isn’t vita kinda leading the team in sacks for 2 years in a row now…

    yeah that’s actually a problem

  18. sasquatch Says:

    Well, his contract virtually guarantees he’ll still be around next year, so we better hope he hasn’t completely lost it.

  19. QBKilla Says:

    Heckuva nice guy but he’s not the same player he once was.

  20. Duane in Sanford Says:

    He gets a pass for the injury, but especially for the scheme. Is his play the only one in decline since last season? Add him to the list that includes Diva, Dean, and Davis. This is why Bowles gets third prize.

  21. Hopein1hand… Says:

    Shaq Barrett is a keeper for next year for both cap structuring and injury related reasons. It’s true that he thrives when opponents’ focus is elsewhere. I love what he did for the Bucs for Mayfield money in his first year in Tampa but reality is that he is uncuttable and untradable given his salary liabilities. All we can do is hope he performs near to his contract going forward and that the Bucs find impactful edge talent in the draft.

  22. Wild Bill Says:

    Not many star players come back from the injury he had and regain their old form. Both he and Sureisrinky are week in their play. Both should be replaced next year or sooner. Play the new guys now will prepare them for mm next year. This team has too many holes to make the playoffs.

  23. Defense Rules Says:

    Marine Buc … You know much better than I do that restructuring contracts comes with a cost … future year costs. JL did a ton of that last year & this year, so we’re facing some gigantic future liabilities. We could’ve moved on from Shaq next year IF they didn’t restructure his contract. Not now.

    Void years have the same impact. We’re on the hook for a total of $21.7 mil next year for void contract years to SIX FAs (Evans, LVD, Mayfield, Gaines, Winfield & Feiler). That’s regardless of who they play for.

    Dead CAP still confuses me, I think because you have to know the details of the contract to really figure it out. As I understand it though, the dead cap hit that a player like Jensen has this (or next) season is money that they have already paid him, but didn’t account for on the salary cap yet. For next year, Bucs currently show 8 players under contract for 2024 who have a Dead CAP hit in excess of $14.0 mil each (some much more). That’s a bundle of money that limits the Bucs’ options for moving on from those players.

  24. 1#bucsfan Says:

    Bro I totally forgot we still had gage haha dang. I agree give Shaq another year if he doesn’t produce then give him a farewell. He did great in his prime.

  25. Popcorn Mike Says:

    I think Shaq is still reeling from the lost of his daughter and her tragic death. The lost of a child is tough especially when it’s sudden and tragic as was with Shaq. I don’t know if that’s the main issue with him now but I do know it takes more then a year or 2 to get over this kind of tragedy with most people.

  26. Since76 Says:

    May as well keep him for the cap hit and hope he bounces back. Doubt it but it’s possible. We know he has a higher ceiling than what he’s showing.

  27. Conner50 Says:

    Like Shaq and I know he lost his daughter and had serious injury, but I would cut or trade him for a draft pick if I was Licht. He’s not getting the production that he’s getting paid for and we would save cap money. It’s a business. Cut Shaq,C.Davis,Jensen, and Gages sorry ass

  28. Clay Says:

    If teams start doubling YaYa, it’s quite possible Barrett could have a productive final stretch

  29. Jeff Says:

    Time to move on from Shaq. He helped win a SB. Great Free Agent for Light. Very few come back from this injury.

  30. D Cone Says:

    When Brady was going thru a divorce the media of everyday distraction this and that.

    This man lost a baby and his life at Home has got to be upside down. Lots of tears over the loss. Maybe self blame or at others due to how a child that small ended up unattended long enough for a tragedy to happen.

    Certainly he has the skills and committed to his obligation to show up at all but I doubt the pieces of his heart that are left is really in it.

    Can’t blame him.

  31. Beeej Says:

    His PFF is 76, not too shabby (esp compared to JTS 63)

  32. ElioT Says:

    Love the dude but Shaq looks like he’s out of shape, like almost fat.

    I know he’s been through a lot but he’s just not the same dude.

    Cut him in the off-season.

  33. Hopein1hand… Says:

    Cutting or trading him sounds good but the Bucs are still on the line for big money. He is worth a shot at being decent on the field for 2024. Even if he wasn’t the Bucs are stuck with him for another season. There is no way around it with his contract/cap hit for next season.

  34. truth5 Says:

    @Joes Excellent photo of Shaq in the rain lining up to rush the passer. It’s sums up our season somehow.

  35. Stylez05 Says:

    Shaq is a great guy and was a good player but he’s been done for a while. I would have let him walk instead of paying him that big contract. I knees it was a mistake.

  36. Vancouver Buc Says:

    ^^^^^ what Stylez05 said 100%. One outstanding year and then a steady decline.

  37. I remember 21 Says:

    Shaq will sadly never regain his former form. And by that I mean the one and kinda a second season where he was a really good player when he had Vita, Suh, and JPP demanding attention from offenses. Other than that, his career has been part mediocre (the current part) and part a really impressive depth guy (before he got here). We paid for the peak to get the average. All teams make that mistake from time to time, but we’ve done it with a few guys all at once, which is not great.

    To all those speaking to his tragedy, I’m sorry but I just don’t think he’s thinking about that when he’s on the field. And I don’t think he would say that he was. So people using that as an excuse for his on the field performance are barking up the wrong tree IMO.

    And I must say I LOLd at all the people in the comments being like “he sucks, cut him” as if they have no earthly idea what a dead cap hit is. Defense Rules spelled it out pretty clearly for those who didn’t know the numbers, but let me try to explain it even more clearly. For next season, we can have him count $14.2M against our salary cap number and play for us, or count $26.7M against our salary cap and NOT play for us. If you have any confusion about which of those is gonna happen, I don’t know what to tell ya.

  38. BucU Says:

    First and foremost you get rid of Bowles and his staff.
    Then you can worry about what players should or should not be cut.

  39. Buckeyebuckchuck Says:

    Father time catches up with everyone eventually. Sometimes older athletes can stretch a career out with smarts, but that hits a wall too. Sad

  40. Bryan Says:

    The fact they barely won against Carolina is the icing on the cake.

  41. Particular set of skills Says:

    2019- 1 year prove it deal. 19.5 sacks
    2020- 1 year tender~still prove it albeit at a significant raise (15 million) 8+ sacks, 4 sacks in playoffs
    2021- signs multi-year deal.
    Restructured deal for team, blows out Achilles, worked his azz off to come back ASAP, lost a child, awesome man (of God) and human……..

    Yet, whomever says not good enough & now need to cut….
    Heartless and gutless……..
    You clearly do not have memories of how truly awful the bad players (snacks, alvin,mcrae,etc) & this team has been…
    Bar raised. I get it.
    But 79 million in dead cap to clear people. And yet, this team still is competitive. Maddening to watch but still in games and a division race.
    Coming from a guy that remembers looking at draft boards in early Oct and cheering for our first 1st down in the 3rd quarter…
    Perspective, appreciation and humility is all.
    Go Bucs!!!!!!