TAMPA, Fla. — Not only was Buccaneers star pass-rusher Shaquil Barrett awarded a new four-year contract worth up to $72 million Monday, he also was awarded a $1.372 million franchise tag settlement stemming from a grievance filed with the NFL Players Association last year, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Barrett on Wednesday confirmed a settlement was reached but didn’t disclose the terms.
“It means a lot that we was able to go through there and not have to actually go to the grievance. That was just a sign of good faith on both sides. We didn’t want to have to go all the way through with a grievance, so we was able to end up settling on a good number,” he said Tuesday in a Zoom call.
“And they knew they wanted to bring me back, so they didn’t want to really have to go through all that type of stuff, and I didn’t want to go through it either because I wanted to be here. And even though I know it’s a business, we just took that part of it out of there. We just made it easy, made it simple to start working on a long-term contract, and we was able to do it.”
The settlement money will count against the Bucs’ salary cap in 2021. There will be no grievance hearing, which would have been the next step. The Bucs opted to settle it, and in turn, Barrett can recoup the lost earnings.
The grievance stems from the NFL not differentiating between outside and inside linebackers when calculating franchise tag amounts, nor does it take into consideration scheme. Franchise tag figures are based on the top five salaries at each position.
Barrett is technically an outside linebacker in defensive coordinator Todd Bowles’ 3-4 scheme, but his job is primarily to rush the passer, like that of a 4-3 defensive end, versus dropping into coverage in the short passing game.
In 2020, the franchise tag amount for linebackers was $15.828 million, whereas it was $17.788 million for defensive ends.
A closer look at Barrett’s snap counts supports his argument.
Over the past two seasons — including the 2020 postseason — Barrett played a total of 171 of 1,851 snaps (9.238%) in coverage and 1,086 snaps (58.67%) rushing the passer (the remaining 594 snaps came against the run). By comparison, inside linebacker Lavonte David played a total of 1,342 snaps in coverage and 207 snaps rushing the passer.
“I think it should be pretty simple if you pass rush more than half the time, but you stand up sometimes too, you should just be called ‘edge.’ If you’re an outside guy on the end pass rushing, you should be just be an ‘edge rusher.’ I understand the 4-3 defense, 3-4 defense, but you can just simplify it as much as you want to, to just — if you’re on the edge rushing on 50% of your snaps, you’re an edge rusher,” Barrett said.
Barrett also said Wednesday he really didn’t entertain offers from other teams before agreeing to his four-year deal Monday, despite the Bucs’ less-than-favorable salary-cap situation.
“Honestly, I was just all focused on coming back here, returning back here, and we was running it to the ground trying to get something done,” he said.
“We had a great team, we had a great team and it’s like, no reason to not want to try to bring it back and try to do it again, but do it even better this time. Jason Licht — he’s a world-class GM. I applaud every move he’s been making since day one that we’ve been here. He’s been doing it the right way he’s been building steadily, and now that we have a championship team, he’s trying to bring it back and have a championship team again next year.”