Defensive player of the year: Shaquil Barrett

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As they began a rebuild on defense, the Buccaneers had some degree of hope that Shaquil Barrett could help them.

They could have never imagined to what degree.

Barrett broke Hall-of-Famer Warren Sapp’s franchise record, and led the NFL with 19.5 sacks this year.

He also had six forced fumbles and interceptions, and helped make a thing which was bad much better.

That kind of transformation has led PFT to name Barrett our defensive player of the year for 2019.

Barrett had just 14.0 sacks in five seasons with the Broncos, so there was little reason to believe he was capable of anything like this.

He’s also set himself up for a handsome payday, winning big on a one-year bet on himself in a new defense. The Bucs have already admitted they want to do what it takes to keep him, and coach Bruce Arians said Barrett “ain’t going anywhere.” But with just one franchise tag at their disposal and a tricky situation with quarterback Jameis Winston ahead as well. it figures to be a fascinating offseason there.

There were a number of strong candidates for the award, including Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore, Steelers outside linebacker T.J. Watt, and Cardinals outside linebacker Chandler Jones.

Gilmore tied for the league lead with six interceptions, and his ability to shut down most threats helped make the Patriots the league’s top-ranked defense this year.

Watt had 14.5 sacks for a team that nearly made the playoffs without a quarterback, and tied for the league lead with eight forced fumbles, showing the kind of game-changing plays he made all year.

Jones was only a half-sack behind Barrett for the league sack lead, and tied with Watt for the league lead in forced fumbles with eight.

But those guys had at least shown indications this was possible previously.

24 responses to “Defensive player of the year: Shaquil Barrett

  1. Probably the worse defense to have a player come out of this reward. That D-line is pretty talented and they were facing passing situations a lot. I wouldn’t over pay for him.

  2. “But those guys had at least shown indications this was possible previously.”

    Didn’t know the award was based on it being the first sign of ability or not. That’s some new fun criteria!

  3. Wow. So happy for you Shaq. Always loved you in Denver. You showed class and heart every day. Hard for you to get on the field with D-Ware and then Chubb. But we’re all glad to see you get your just desserts.

  4. But those guys had at least shown indications this was possible previously.

    So players are being penalized for being good in the past?

  5. Based on the criteria (i.e., he wasn’t expected to do this like TJ Watt was) then this award should be called the “we didn’t see it coming” award. Not DPOY.

    Put it this way: If every single NFL player was a free agent tomorrow, do you think he would be the first defensive player taken? Me neither

    great season, tho!

  6. I thought it was a Jan 1st prank. I’ve never heard of him. Should have given it to Chandler Jones, Seattle put a 3rd string left tackle on him 1 on 1 all day so he could get 4 sacks week 16.

  7. Basing these awards so heavily on a simplistic counting stat like sacks, is wrong in my opinion.

    Sacks can be made so cheaply at times, especially in the kind of high scoring games the Bucs are often involved in.

  8. Anyone who doesn’t know who Shaq Barrett must be team homers who do not watch other teams play. He took the league by storm, and is a feel good story.Sacks don’t matter for this award? Look at his other stats. He is a complete player, and a darn good one who was stuck behind other great players in Denver. He got his chance and went off.

  9. I bet the bucs could have been a wild card team had they had a qb that wasn’t a turnover machine. Also, Shaq Barrett owes a lot of credit to the entire TB DLine.

  10. Curious if Can Jordan received any votes. Talk about a guy that plays lights out and requires constant double teams and still managed 15.5 sacks.

  11. It’s an individual award, not a team award. Being the best player on a bad defense, should not negate individual accomplishment. The Patriots have the best pass defense in the NFL, The Bucs have the best rush defense in the NFL. Stats can be misleading… A Fumble Recovery is basically an interception. A Sack is pass defensed with negative yards. A Fumble recovered by a teammate and returned for a TD is pretty much a pick 6, but doesn’t show up on stat sheets. All 4 have impacted games significantly, and none are a clear winner.

    Stephen Gilmore: 6INTs, 20 Passes defensed, 2 TDs, 54 tackles, 0 sacks, 0FF/1FR.
    Shaquil Barrett: 1 INT, 2 passes defensed, 0 TDs, 58 tackles, 19.5 sacks, 6FF/0FR.
    Chandler Jones: 0 INT, 5 passes defensed, 0 TDs, 53 tackles, 19.0 sacks, 8FF/3FR.
    TJ Watt: 2 INT, 8 passes defensed, 0 TDs, 55 tackles, 14.5 sacks, 8FF/4FR.

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