The Tampa Bay Buccaneers extended Shaquil Barrett with the franchise tag earlier today and have now also added Jason Pierre-Paul to the list of returners.
The Buccaneers have certainly not been the most active team on the first day of the legal tampering period but they have addressed two of their most important players: edge rushers Shaquil Barrett and Jason Pierre-Paul.
Pierre-Paul led the Buccaneers in sacks in 2018 and finished in second only to Shaquil Barrett in 2019.
Tampa Bay had gone without a dominant pass rush for several years before JPP and Barrett were able to step up at their positions. The Bucs knew they needed to keep both of these players even if they would require substantial salaries.
Barrett was taken care of with the franchise tag earlier today and now Pierre-Paul has been extended with a two-year contract according to Adam Schefter on Twitter.
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The Buccaneers weren’t able to bring JPP back for cheap but the deal will still be worth it in the long run for both parties. Pierre-Paul is set to make $27 million over the next two years which will substantially cut into the Buccaneer salary cap.
Despite the steep price, this is another great, if not expected move by the Buccaneers.
Bruce Arians has been consistent on his stance that the team had to keep its dominant front-seven intact after their stellar play in 2019. Pierre-Paul and Barrett were always going to be the most important for the Bucs to re-sign, especially with the lack of talent for edge rushers in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Even if the Buccaneers did overpay slightly, having two talented edge rushers is exactly what Tampa Bay will need to keep their defense on top.
Like it or not, the Bucs re-signing Pierre-Paul and leaving Ndamukong Suh waiting shows how the front office feels about replacing these players.
The Buccaneers could have the money available at the end of free agency to keep Suh on the roster but there are no guarantees. Tampa Bay will still have a healthy chunk of money going towards a quarterback and some money needs to be set aside for rookie signings.
Regardless of the other free agents, the Buccaneers are maintaining their pass rush from 2019. Jason Pierre-Paul will now have a full season to play alongside Barrett and the possibility of having two double-digit sack players is a likely one in 2020.