Skip to main content
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Presented by

Bucs Release Shaq Barrett After Prolific Five-Year Run

OLB Shaq Barrett, who ranks fifth in Bucs history in sacks and shattered the team's single-season record in that category in 2019, was officially released on Wednesday at the start of the NFL's new league year


Two weeks ago, Tampa Bay Buccaneers Head Coach Todd Bowles confirmed the team's "tough decision" to release outside linebacker Shaquil Barrett, calling Barrett "one of the best human beings you could ever meet." On Wednesday, after the NFL's new league year kicked off at 4:00 p.m. ET, the Buccaneers made that move official.

Barrett had one year left on the four-year contract he signed with the Buccaneers in 2021. By waiting until after the start of the league year, the Bucs retained the ability to designate him as a post-June 1 cut, which would allow them to spread the dead cap hit over the 2024 and 2025 seasons. Since the Buccaneers announced their intentions to release Barrett in February and gave him permission to speak with other teams, he has reportedly agreed to a deal to play for the Miami Dolphins in 2024.

Barrett departs after a very productive five-year run in Tampa that made him one of the best free agent additions in franchise history. After four seasons as a rotational player for the Denver Broncos, he signed a one-year "prove-it" deal with the Buccaneers in 2019 for a chance to compete for a starting job. Not only did Barrett win that job but he went on to set a new franchise record with 19.5 sacks, becoming the first Buccaneer ever to lead the NFL in that category. He finished fourth in the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year voting after that season and earned his first career Pro Bowl invite.

"Shaq's contributions to the Buccaneers both on and off the field these past five seasons have been extraordinary and he will be missed by many in and around the organization," said General Manager Jason Licht. "His leadership, work ethic, and dedication to the game have been unmatched and the courage he displayed last season was truly inspirational. We are grateful for Shaq's time here in Tampa and will always have a special place in our hearts for the Barrett family."

Barrett added another 8.0 sacks in 2020 while playing on the franchise tag and was an integral part of the team's postseason run to the Super Bowl LV title. He recorded 4.0 sacks in the playoffs that season, including 3.0 in the Bucs' win in Green Bay in the NFC Championship Game.

Barrett hit double digits in sacks again in 2021, with 10.0, and made the Pro Bowl for a second time. His Barrett's 2022 season was cut short after eight games and 3.0 sacks due to a ruptured Achilles tendon. He recaptured his starting spot in 2023 and recorded 4.5 sacks to give him 45.0 during his Buccaneer tenure. That's tied for the 14th most sacks by any NFL player in that five-year span, and from 2019-21 his 37.5 sacks ranked fourth behind T.J. Watt, Aaron Donald and Myles Garrett, all of whom have won NFL Defensive Player of the Year awards since 2020.

"We are extremely thankful for everything Shaq brought to our organization over the last five years," said Head Coach Todd Bowles. "He was an impactful player and a tremendous person, who was a key part of the successes we have had here. These are always difficult decisions, but this one was that much harder due to the special feelings we have for Shaq, Jordanna and the Barrett family. I wish them the best as they move forward."

Barrett's totals with the Buccaneers also included 90 quarterback hits, 249 tackles, 48 tackles for loss, 15 forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, three interceptions and 15 passes defensed. He scored the Bucs' only defensive touchdown of the 2023 season on a four-yard pick six that sealed a Week Two win over the Chicago Bears. Barrett's 15 strip-sacks over his five years as a Buccaneer led the NFL during that span. His 45.0 sacks rank fifth in Buccaneers franchise history.

Barrett also played in and started eight postseason games for the Buccaneers. In addition to his big performance in the 2020 NFC Championship Game, he also provided one of the Bucs' three sacks of Patrick Mahomes in a dominant 31-9 win over the Kansas City Chiefs in the Super Bowl and was credited with four quarterback hits. He and Denver's DeMarcus Ware are the only two players to rack up eight QB hits over a conference championship game and Super Bowl combined since data began being tracked in 2006.

Barrett originally entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent with the Broncos out of Colorado State in 2014. After spending a year on Denver's practice squad, he landed a spot on the active roster in 2015 and played in all 16 games with six starts, recording 5.5 sacks. He had another nine starts in 2017 and played in a total of 61 games with the Broncos, contributing 14.0 sacks and 35 QB hits.

Related Content

win monthly prizes, download the app and turn on push alerts to score

Download the Buccaneers app and turn on push alerts for your chance to win

Latest Headlines