Shaq Barrett’s franchise tag would have been $20.577 million

Los Angeles Chargers v Tampa Bay Buccaneers
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Lost if not completely unknown in the moves the Buccaneers have made since winning Super Bowl LV is that the decision not to apply the franchise tag to linebacker Shaq Barrett should have been less surprising than it was.

Per a source with knowledge of the situation, Barrett’s franchise tender would have been $20.577 million for 2021.

Barrett’s tender was believed to be $18.99 million, a 20-percent bump over his 2020 salary under the franchise tag. However, the $1.32 million settlement of his grievance regarding the difference between being tagged as a defensive end and a linebacker retroactively increased his 2020 pay from $15.828 million to $17.148 million. Applying the 20-percent increase to $17.148 million, that’s $20.577 million.

This information wasn’t widely known, or known at all, before the Bucs tagged receiver Chris Godwin instead of Barrett. Knowing what Barrett’s franchise-tag salary would have been for 2021, it now makes perfect sense.

“It was a little bit of a chess game deciding what to do there,” G.M. Jason Licht told SiriusXM NFL Radio on Friday regarding the strategy for determining whether to tag Barrett or Godwin. “We wanted to make the move that we felt had the best chance to keep both. Turned out we got it right.”

If they’d tagged Barrett, it would have cost a lot more to keep him than the $17 million per year on a four-year deal that he eventually signed. It would have made far more sense for him to take the $20.577 million in 2021 and become a free agent in 2022, when the Bucs couldn’t have tagged him again. (By rule, a third franchise tender for Barrett would have been at least $29.63 million.)

Also, tagging Barrett would have resulted in Godwin landing on the open market. He presumably would have gotten at least $18 million per year on a long-term deal from another team, and with so much 2021 cap space devoted to Barrett, the Bucs wouldn’t have been able to compete with alternative offers.

Instead, the Bucs now have Godwin under contract at a cash and cap charge of $15.983 million in 2021. Barrett’s cap number under his long-term deal is only $5 million.

So instead of keeping Barrett under the tag at $20.577 million in 2021 cap space, the Bucs kept both Barrett and Godwin at $20.983 million in cap space. That makes their “chess move” something for which they didn’t have to take a few green pills and then stare at the ceiling to figure out.

13 responses to “Shaq Barrett’s franchise tag would have been $20.577 million

  1. I love the salary cap and love how teams get around it even more. Football being an intellectual game is just as much fun being a physical game.

  2. It all comes due eventually….. Bucs trying to cash in on Brady’s availability to play……ALL their chips are pushed in to win NOW….
    They do have a very formidable team…..not a bad move at THIS TIME, but it will haunt them dearly in the near future…..

  3. kissbillsrings says:
    March 27, 2021 at 11:11 am

    It all comes due eventually….. Bucs trying to cash in on Brady’s availability to play……ALL their chips are pushed in to win NOW….
    They do have a very formidable team…..not a bad move at THIS TIME, but it will haunt them dearly in the near future…..
    _________________________________________________________—-
    Not really the Saints were doing cap gymnastics for years and stayed competitive. The Bucs were in great position with no huge contracts going in. They just did this in a year where the cap dropped significantly. When the cap goes back up close to what it was or expected the cap won’t look that bad.

  4. We got 1 Lombardi with a chance at a 2nd. Now is the time to go all in. Great Job Licht.

  5. kissbillsrings says:
    March 27, 2021 at 11:11 am
    It all comes due eventually….. Bucs trying to cash in on Brady’s availability to play……ALL their chips are pushed in to win NOW….
    They do have a very formidable team…..not a bad move at THIS TIME, but it will haunt them dearly in the near future…..
    ——–
    Even if this is the case, I’d say its worth it. Even if they “only” get the 1 championship. Raptors did it when they signed kawhi for one season and I dont think they regret it one bit either.

  6. They will need both players to have a chance of beating Frisco in the playoffs in 2021

  7. I remember a time when people were calling for Licht’s head.

    Excellent cap management.

  8. Also, the Bucs have been playing cap gymnastics for years as well, going out and getting guys like Revis and Jackson every year. 🤷🏼‍♂️

  9. I would not call it being intellectual. If you sign a player for $20 million and the cap charge is $5 then that difference is going to come one day. Really just borrowing against the future much like debt. Maybe the nfl should charge teams interest for this.

  10. It’s about having a window and going for it. Some teams don’t even get to sniff a window!

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