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Report: Bucs place franchise tag on Shaq Barrett

Buccaneers, Shaq Barrett

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are placing the franchise tag on linebacker Shaq Barrett.

According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, the Buccaneers are bringing back the NFL’s sack leader for roughly $15.829 million next season. That $20 million figure is the average for the top five paid players at his position — an increase from $4 million last season.

The 27-year-old Barrett spent his first season in Tampa Bay and absolutely exploded. Not only did Barrett lead the league with 19.5 sacks, he also had eight take-downs alone during the first three games of the season.

To say that Barrett’s progression was a surprise is an understatement. The former undrafted free agent spent the first six seasons of his career as an anonymous figure for the Denver Broncos. His previous high in sacks was 5.5 during the 2015 season and he only started 15 games during the first five seasons of his career.

Barrett went from fighting for a job in the fourth preseason game to finishing as the NFL’s sack leader last season. Not a bad accomplishment at all.

The franchise tag on Barrett means the Bucs are rewarding the veteran with a big pay increase — but they’re also not committing to him for the long term just yet.

The more important thing to digest from all of this is that Jameis Winston will now hit free agency with the tag now on Barrett.