The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will have Shaquil Barrett in 2020, but it’s uncertain how much the team will pay him. Barrett informed the club he would accept the franchise tag Friday, but filed a grievance over the Bucs tagging him as a linebacker instead of a defensive end.
Barrett, 27, has $2 million in reasons for filing that grievance, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
That’s how much extra money Barrett would have made had the Bucs designated him as a defensive end. Players who accept the franchise tag are paid based on the top-5 highest-paid players at their position. Franchised defensive ends are expected to make roughly $17.8 million this campaign, according to Over The Cap. Franchised linebackers are set to receive about $15.8 million in 2020. Since Barrett fills both roles, the Bucs tagged Barrett as a linebacker.
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It’s not the first time an NFL team has used this loophole to its advantage.
The Houston Texans did the same thing with pass rusher Jadeveon Clowney before the 2019 season. Clowney filed a grievance over his designation. Despite playing more snaps at defensive end in 2018, Clowney played out the 2019 season under the linebacker tag amount.
While Barrett is technically classified as an outside linebacker in the Bucs’ defense, he’s used primarily as a pass rusher. Barrett led the NFL with 19.5 sacks in 2019. If all he does is rush the passer, Barrett — along with agent Drew Rosenhaus —believes the argument can be made that Barrett is more of a defensive end.
The Bucs could have evaded that grievance had the team agreed to a long-term deal with Barrett. In June, Barrett expressed doubt that would happen, telling SiriusXM a deal would be “pretty hard with the situation of the world right now.”
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