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Buccaneers to release two-time Pro Bowler Shaq Barrett, move saves just under $5 million cap space

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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a number of key free agents this offseason and in an effort to keep much of their 2023 NFC South championship team intact, they are releasing two-time Pro Bowl edge rusher Shaquil Barrett, per NFL Media

The Buccaneers are designating his departure as as post-June 1 cut, per Fox Sports, which will save them $4.9 million in cap room, running their 2024 cap space to about $48.6 million, the 10th-most cap room in the NFL this offseason according to OverTheCap.com. Barrett’s 45 sacks since joining Tampa Bay in 2019 are tied for the 14th-most in the NFL. However, his production dipped in 2023 after he tore his Achilles in the 2022 season, registering 4.5 sacks — his fewest in a season in Tampa when playing at least 10 games. 

“Shaq has been great for us over the last five years, but these tough decisions have to be made,” Buccaneers head coach Todd Bowles said on NFL Network Tuesday morning. “Who knows we’ll see what happens down the line.”  

Barrett led the NFL in sacks with 19.5 his first year as a Buccaneer in 2019, which resulted in him receiving a franchise tag. Following the team’s run to a Super Bowl LV championship in Tom Brady’s first season with the team in 2020, the Buccaneers paid up and re-signed him to a four-year, $68 million contract. Barrett registered 10 sacks and earned a second Pro Bowl nod in the first year of the new deal, but the 31-year-old tore his Achilles eight games into the 2022 season. 

Tampa now turns their attention to multiple key contributors on both sides of the ball that are set to become free agents in March when the new league year begins: quarterback Baker Mayfield, wide receiver Mike Evans, linebacker Lavonte David and safety Antoine Winfield Jr

Perhaps after the Buccaneers address those players’ futures, they could circle back to Barrett, something Bowles alluded to this morning. The offseason is now in full swing in Tampa. 

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