-OLB Shaq Barrett is now officially a Buccaneer through the 2021 season as he signed his franchise tag tender on Wednesday. Barrett had until July 15 to reach a long-term deal or sign the tag to play on the tag for a year. It comes as no surprise with Barrett repeatedly saying he wanted to remain in Tampa and would play on the tag should the two sides not get a long-term contract figured out in time.
The tag offer was extended on March 16 following a 2019 season that saw Barrett lead the league and break a Buccaneers' single-season record with 19.5 sacks in 16 games. Barrett had nine in the first four games, tying a league record for that span, to start his first year with the Buccaneers out with a bang.
-Inside linebacker Lavonte David is top two and he's er… well, two. It's not ideal, but ESPN ranked the top 10 inside linebackers according to a poll of more than 50 players, coaches and NFL executives heading into the 2020 season and David finished second behind only Bobby Wagner. He's not two in my opinion, and some others’ too, but at this point we'll take it.
"David landed at the No. 2 spot without flash but with ultimate respect," wrote Jeremy Fowler. "All but one voter kept him inside the top six.
'Criminally underrated,' one veteran NFL linebacker said. 'Doesn't get the recognition but so smooth as a player. Everything he does is right.'
The Bucs view him as a cornerstone despite their influx of talent on both sides of the ball. He made plays through the down years, and will get more shine in the Bucs' renewed playoff push with Tom Brady.
No stat category is left unfilled with David: 45 passes defended, 21 forced fumbles, 11 interceptions, 22.5 sacks, 52 quarterback hits and 116 tackles for loss since 2012."
He outpaces Wagner in all but two major categories with them both coming into the league at the same time, yet David has been to five less Pro Bowls and received four less All-Pro nods than Wagner.
Make it make sense.
-NFL.com's Marc Sessler predicted first-time Pro Bowlers from each team and he went with a first-year player for the Bucs. Rookie safety Antoine Winfield Jr. was taken in the second round out of the University of Minnesota after a stellar senior season that saw him tie the single-season school record with seven interceptions. A ball hawking safety, he can play slot corner or occupy either safety spot, making him the kind of versatile safety a system like Defensive Coordinator Todd Bowles needs. Though getting acclimated in an unconventional offseason like the current one may be a hurdle, he's got resources to help him get up to speed right at home.
"The vast majority of Tampa's starry offensive parts have already made the Pro Bowl," wrote Sessler. "If we can tear ourselves away from Tom Brady and friends for just a second, I present to you the case of Antoine Winfield Jr. His 5-foot-9 frame and notable injury history are talking points, but so are his unteachable instincts, closing speed, versatility and NFL bloodline."
Winfield's father, Antoine Winfield Sr., was a 14-year NFL veteran who made the Pro Bowl three times in his own career. Having him as a resource will hopefully make Jr.'s transition to the pros that much smoother and allow him to make an all-star impact in his rookie season.
-Madden 21 released more rankings. And while I'm excited that both Vita Vea and Ndamukong Suh are in the Top 10 for strength with a 97 OVR each, can someone please tell me why Shaq Barrett doesn't make this list??