The Tampa Bay Buccaneers boasted one of the deepest defenses in the league in 2020, as the unit helped lead the once-starved franchise to a Super Bowl LV victory this past February. Among the talented cast, which included Lavonte David, Ndamakong Suh, and others, stood one of the best pass rushers in football: Shaq Barrett.
Fresh off of a 2019 season where he posted 19.5 sacks, the former undrafted player out of Colorado State dialed up another impressive campaign in 2020. In 15 starts during the regular season, Barrett tallied 8.0 sacks and 57 total tackles, along with two forced fumbles. He seemed to turn it up a notch in the playoffs, racking up 4.0 sacks in four games.
As the NFL offseason rolls alongs, the star edge rusher is one of the key free agents the Buccaneers are trying to hold onto headed into 2021. After franchise tagging wide receiver Chris Godwin and re-upping with David, Barrett’s future seems to be next on the list for the franchise to address.
But what if Barrett doesn’t end up back in Tampa in 2021?
For NFL reporter Benjamin Allbright, the answer to that question seems pretty simple. He believes that the Cleveland Browns will “heavily pursue” the 28-year-old edge rusher in free agency.
Allbright did clarify that he thinks the Bucs will ultimately be the ones to sign Barrett when all is said and done.
If #Bucs lets Shaq Barrett get away, wouldn’t be surprised to see #Browns heavily pursue him.
(Still think Tampa ultimately gets it done)
— Benjamin Allbright (@AllbrightNFL) March 11, 2021
Barrett wouldn’t be the first pass rusher tied to the Browns this offseason, as the AFC North organization has been outspoken about trying to pair a defender opposite of star defensive end Myles Garrett. Cleveland tried to make a run at J.J. Watt, but ultimately struck out as he signed with the Arizona Cardinals.
An experienced played like Barrett would help out a Browns defense that ranked 21st in points allowed in 2020. Although Kevin Stefanski’s club had no problem scoring, preventing other teams from doing so was an issue.
As Allbright mentioned, it seems unlikely that Barrett will stray away from the Buccaneers this spring. If he chooses to stay with Tampa Bay, Todd Bowles’ unit will be well set-up for another strong year.
But if Barrett heads to the Browns, he may play a vital role in trying to push the organization further into the postseason.
The post NFL Insider Names 1 Suitor For Shaq Barrett If He Doesn’t Sign With Bucs appeared first on The Spun.
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