Each year players from each team find themselves playing for their financial future and their career. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are no different. On a defense that is ever-improving, keeping key players to provide continuity is essential to establishing a winning franchise. These two players are key to the Buccaneers’ success. The question is, can the team retain them after 2020?
There are two defensive players that come to mind. Both at the opposite ends of the spectrum. One rides into the season on a franchise tag, the other is a long time Buccaneer who does not get the national recognition he deserves.
Coming into the 2019 season Shaq Barrett came in as unheralded free agency acquisition. Hopes were he could contribute. Then reality set in. In Todd Bowles’s defense, he flourished. Setting, as we know the 2019 sack record. Now in 2020, he plays under a franchise tag with the hope that he will get a new contract at the end of the season and remain a Buccaneer.
This situation plays out well for both the Buccaneers and Barrett. First, the Buccaneers get to test the waters and determine if the 2019 season was a fluke. Secondly, Barrett gets to stay with the team and prove himself. Ultimately getting paid a sum that he deserves. With luck, that will be with the Buccaneers in 2021. It seems as though Barrett knows how well the Bowls defense works for him and the team knows how important he is to improve this defense. This has the makings of a partnership that allows both sides to win.
If He Walks
Unfortunately, when a team and player miss out on striking a long-term deal before the franchise tag deadline it makes things contentious. Now, while playing Barrett has a chip on his shoulder. The team, especially if the player continues to perform well, losses its ability to negotiate. If the Buccaneers can not retain Barrett they may need to look to other free agents and the draft to replace him. There is no one on the roster to supplant him at this point.
The outlook coming from Barret’s camp seems good though. Even with a dispute as to how to describe Barrett and pay him it looks as though he wants to be in Tampa. Keep an eye on this situation and pay close attention to the things each side says during the season. This situation could have a huge impact in 2021.
The stalwart player of the Buccaneers defense. A man who has been a part of this organization for a long time. Team captain and a great leader. It’s hard to express how much a player has been integral for a team both on and off the field. Lavonte David surely deserves much more credit then he is afforded.
His contributions gave been a constant for the Buccaneers. Since 2012 David has only had one season with less than 100 tackles. Additionally, he has only had one year with less than double-digit tackles for loss. When you factor in forced fumbles, pass deflections, and quarterback hits one thing is clear. Offenses must account for him every single snap. David is coming off his second-best Pro Football Focus (subscription required) grade of his career. Going into his second season of Todd Bowls system he should improve. With Devin White and Barrett flanking him he could have his best season yet.
If He Walks
The Buccaneers find themselves in a position like that of Barrett’s. There is no one on the roster who can come in and perfume as well as he does. White is already in a starting position so he cannot be accounted for as a replacement.
The good news is, again like Barrett’s situation, the team likes him and David likely wants to be a Buccaneer.
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