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Shaquil Barrett says he would have no problem being Bucs franchise player

But the NFL sack leader would prefer a long-term deal from Tampa Bay, where his career exploded with 19.5 sacks last season.
Shaquil Barrett of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers hands Largo's Sean Silverthorn two tickets to the Super Bowl after a practice for the NFL Pro Bowl on Jan. 22 in Kissimmee.
Shaquil Barrett of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers hands Largo's Sean Silverthorn two tickets to the Super Bowl after a practice for the NFL Pro Bowl on Jan. 22 in Kissimmee. [ CHRIS O'MEARA | AP ]
Published Mar. 13, 2020
Updated Mar. 13, 2020

TAMPA ― Shaquil Barrett was bobbing up and down on a boat in Tampa Bay on Thursday during his interview with NFL Network’s Total Access, but he isn’t planning to make any waves if the Bucs designate him as their franchise player.

Barrett, who led the NFL with 19.5 sacks in 2019, said he would be happy to play under the estimated $16 million to $19 million salary as a franchise player, but would prefer a long-term deal.

Either way, he said he has no plans to leave the Bucs and wants to build on the momentum established last season. “I’m expecting to still be down here in Tampa,” Barrett said.

Barring a long-term deal, the Bucs are expected to use the franchise player tag on Barrett before Monday’s deadline just before noon.

Barrett signed a one-year, $4 million contract in 2019 with the Bucs after spending five seasons with the Denver Broncos, where he recorded 14 total sacks.

“I’m going to play off the tag, I’ve got to,” Barrett said. "But I do want that long-term deal. It’s all about security for me and my family and that’s all I’ve been wanting my whole time in the NFL is getting that security."

Barrett, 27, earned a trip to the Pro Bowl and broke Warren Sapp’s club sack record of 16.5. What was the reason for his turnaround in Tampa?

“It was just the opportunity to play and get into a rhythm and not feel like I’m forcing anything,” Barrett said. “Then it was all the guys around me, our coaching staff, our inside guys, our pass rushers from the other side. Everybody worked so good together, that’s why I’m like there’s no reason for me to want to give that up and go somewhere else.”

Barrett was asked about the Bucs’ interest in Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.

“Hey, I love Jameis (Winston), man. I know he’s going to get better,” Barrett said. “I know he’s going to get the great jump next year. And if Tom Brady did come, it’s Tom Brady. You can’t turn that down. I would love to have Tom Brady here. I would love to have Jameis here.

"But whoever is here, I know they’re going to want to win and do whatever they got to do to help us win and I just want to be a part of winning. I want to get to the playoffs and compete for a Super Bowl. Whoever they think the quarterback is to get that done? Shoot, that’s who I want.”

When Barrett was asked what position he would draft if he were the Bucs general manager, he said a quarterback. The Bucs own the No. 14 overall pick.

“So for us ... like me, personally, I would think of a quarterback and then if we were to bring Tom, and if Tom was there to help him develop him a little bit,” Barrett said. “But I would draft a quarterback first and figure it out.”