Shaq Barrett Ready to Eat in 2021
Shaquil Barrett has developed into one of the premier outside linebacker threats in the NFL since he joined the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2019. Now, as he prepares for his third season with the team in 2021, fresh off a Super Bowl LV win against Kansas City, Barrett is not quite satisfied with what he has accomplished.
In his first two years with the squad, he has recorded 27.5 sacks. But he wants more, as he stated in an appearance on NFL Network’s Good Morning Football show Tuesday.
“As a team, just trying to put the work in so we can be able to end up in the same position we were the last year,” he said of the team’s expectations. “Me personally, I’m trying to do something that’s never been done as a defensive player. I want to win MVP, I want to win Defensive Player of the Year, like, I’m hungry for everything. Every accolade, every award, individually and as a team. I’m expecting real big things from myself this year.”
Barrett signed a four-year extension to stay with the Bucs earlier this offseason for $72 million, and he stood pat on what he said wanting to play in Tampa. With a new contract in tow, he can turn his attention to the lofty goals that he set for himself which involve winning two of the NFL’s top honors.
However, the deck may be somewhat stacked against him.
“Considering a defensive player hasn’t been named Most Valuable Player since Lawrence Taylor 36 years ago, the odds aren’t exactly in his favor. As for DPOY, Barrett’s 19.5-sack explosion two years ago earned him a spot in the race but it was Stephon Gilmore who eventually crossed the finish line. If his production falls somewhere in the realm it has been in recent seasons, 2021 could be the year Barrett will finally have his cake and eat it too.”
Another reason why Barrett may have a large chip on his shoulder is because of his beginnings in the league. He was an undrafted pick who signed as a free agent with the Denver Broncos in 2014, and won a Super Bowl with the Orange and Blue of the Rocky Mountains in 2016.
He was seen as one of the top free agents in this year’s availability, but he decided that it wasn’t worth the risk to take more money and play elsewhere.
“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,” he 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.”
Shaquil Barrett has become one of the more intriguing outside linebackers in the NFL. He developed as a solid player for the Broncos, and now after winning his second Super Bowl title, he and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are looking forward to repeating as champions in 2021.