Bucs LB Barrett doubts long-term deal, would play on tag

Franchise-tagged outside linebacker Shaquil Barrett doesn’t expect to reach agreement on a long-term contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers before the July 15 deadline, he said Monday.

“Long-term will probably be pretty hard with the situation of the world right now,” Barrett said in an appearance on SiriusXM NFL Radio. “I think we’re working on a deal, but it probably won’t be long (term).”

Barrett, 27, was tagged by the Buccaneers after racking up an NFL-best 19.5 sacks and 37 quarterback hits in 2019.

Tagged players have until July 15 to sign an extension before being locked into their one-year salary. Barrett confirmed Monday that if no deal is reached, he would sign the tag and play on the accompanying $15.8 million salary for 2020.

“We’re just still trying to work something out,” he said. “But the franchise tag, it wasn’t like 50-50, like if I don’t get something done I’m going to sign that for sure. We’re still trying to work to get something done and we were just going to wait as long as we could.

“I will most definitely be here next year.”

Prior to his breakout season, Barrett had 14 sacks and 35 QB hits across 61 games (16 starts) in five seasons with the Denver Broncos. He joined the Bucs last offseason on a one-year, $4 million deal.

Contract negotiations across the league have been complicated by the coronavirus pandemic and expected decreases in revenue, making future salary cap figures difficult to predict. Once expected to rise significantly, the cap could flatten or decrease in 2021. The NFL and players union reportedly plan to discuss ways to smooth the cap and avoid any extreme dip or spike.

The Buccaneers have $4.2 million in cap room for 2020, according to the NFLPA’s most recent report.