Shaq Barrett was about to become one of the top free-agent edge rushers in March.
Then Barrett signed a four-year, $72 million deal to stick with the Buccaneers just after the negotiating window opened — becoming one of the first to help keep the vast majority of the Super Bowl LV champions together for 2021.
Barrett led the league with 9.5 sacks in 2019, his first year with the Buccaneers. He then played on the franchise tag in 2020, recording 8.0 sacks in the regular season plus 4.0 and eight QB hits in the postseason.
So while he had a chance to hit the open market again (the Bucs placed this year’s franchise tag on receiver Chris Godwin), Barrett said in an interview with NFL Network’s Good Morning Football on Tuesday that he didn’t want to mess around with what he’s found with Tampa Bay.
“It might’ve been true [that I was offered more money elsewhere], but I didn’t listen to anybody else. I didn’t hear no other offers,” Barrett said. “I wanted to make it work down here in Tampa. We’ve got something special going down here, man. And I don’t want to let greed be the reason why I don’t take advantage of this opportunity down here. We’re starting to love Tampa. We love the fan support. And I’m just ready to keep building.
“I love my coaches. I love the organization — everything is like a match made in heaven down here, man. And I won’t let trying to get a little more money change that.”
With all 22 starters back plus key reserves, the Buccaneers have as good a chance as any team in recent memory to win back-to-back Super Bowl championships. And in a depressed free-agent market, Barrett got decent money with an average annual salary of $17 million.