Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Realistic player contracts in free agency

Shaquil Barrett, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Shaquil Barrett, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /
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Here’s how much your favorite Buccaneers will cost to bring back.

Regardless of what the optimistic fans throughout the Tampa area believe, free agency will be a difficult journey for the Buccaneers. A competent front office only goes so far when the money is so limited, and Tampa will have to make some difficult decisions to make the most of Tom Brady’s second season with the team.

As it stands, the Bucs have approximately 12 million dollars in space. That number could go into the negatives as early as today.

The 168 million dollars that the Buccaneers are on the hook for in 2021 does not include Chris Godwin, Shaquil Barrett, Lavonte David, Ndamukong Suh, Leonard Fournette, Antonio Brown, any of the rookies, and the depth free agents that aren’t starting players.

Even with pushing salaries back and placing the majority of the cost onto later seasons, making this season happen with all of the above names is next to impossible, even for one of the league’s best front offices.

While the individual years are hard to gauge, here is what the Buccaneers could have to pay each of these free agents to ensure that they stay in Tampa.

Shaquil Barrett, non-negotiable need for 2021

This draft class does not have the edge talent to replace Barrett in year one. Some of the players could get to that point, but Barrett has emerged as one of the top pass-rushers in the NFL over the past two seasons, and he has shown out in the regular season and the playoffs.

Tampa Bay has no choice but to bring Barrett back regardless of the cost. As a Super Bowl winner, league sack leader, and an All-Pro, Barrett deserves to be one of the highest-paid pass rushers in the NFL. Given his history and desire to stay in Tampa, Barrett could be slightly cheaper, but he is looking at around 18 million per year for four or five seasons at least.

Likely deal from the Bucs: 72 million dollars over four years