The Tampa Bay Buccaneers got one of their best pass-rushers back into the mix on Wednesday when outside linebacker Shaquil Barrett was activated from the reserve/COVID-19 list. Barrett can now return to practice with the team and will be available to play in Saturday night's Wild Card playoff game at Washington.
Barrett was placed on the COVID list on Friday along with inside linebacker Devin White and defensive lineman Steve McLendon. Teams are not allowed to divulge the reason a player is placed on that list, whether that be for testing positive or being in close proximity to someone who has, but Barrett's wife indicated on Instagram that he had not tested positive.
Barrett started each of the Buccaneers' first 15 games and recorded 8.0 sacks, 16 quarterback hits and 11 tackles for loss. Despite sitting out last week, he finished tied for third in the NFL with 41 pressures and he also forced two fumbles and broke up three passes while adding 57 total tackles.
A 2019 free agency acquisition, Barrett had a breakout campaign in his first chance to be a regular starter, leading the NFL and shattering the Buccaneers' team record with 19.5 sacks. According to NFL Next Gen Stats, he actually had a higher pressure rate in 2020 than during his record-breaking season, pressuring the opposing passer on 13.9% of his pass rushes this year.
The Buccaneers won their regular-season finale against Atlanta without two of their three players who had recorded eight or more sacks, as White finished the year with 9.0 to go along with Jason Pierre-Paul's 9.5. The Bucs do not expect to have White back for Saturday's game but will now at least have its outside linebacker duo intact against a Washington offense that has allowed 50 sacks in 2020.