Yaya Diaby posts farewell message to Shaq Barrett after Bucs release him

Baltimore Ravens v Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Baltimore Ravens v Tampa Bay Buccaneers / Kevin Sabitus/GettyImages

We're just a few weeks away from the new league year beginning, which means teams are starting to take care of business in preparation for free agency rolling around.

For the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, that meant making the incredibly tough decision to release veteran linebacker Shaq Barrett. He'll be the first of what will likely be a few cap casualties this offseason as the Bucs try to find money to re-sign Antoine Winfield Jr., Baker Mayfield, and Mike Evans.

It wasn't a surprising move, even if it was unpleasant to finally hear. Everyone has known for a while that Barrett would likely be on the chopping block ahead of free agency starting, and the move to release him now was made to help put him in the best position to find a new team as quickly as possible.

That's the sort of respect the Bucs had for him. It extends beyond the front office and is deeply rooted in the locker room, something that Yaya Diaby reminded everyone after the news became official.

Yaya Diaby posts farewell message to Shaq Barrett after Bucs release him

Once word started to spread that Barrett would be released, Diaby took to social media and paid tribute to someone he described as his mentor.

Diaby was one of the team's standout rookies this year, and a lot of that seems to have been thanks to how Barrett took him under his wing. He went from a Day 2 pick to someone who was getting looks as a starter late in the year, and Diaby figures to be a major part of the Bucs defense next season.

In fact, with Barrett heading to free agency it's likely that Diaby is the one who steps up to replace him.

Barrett gave the Bucs five really great seasons and was a big part of bringing a Super Bowl back to Tampa Bay. Losing him is a tough blow for a defense that is now down a veteran leader, but his parting gift to the Bucs seems to be what he did to help begin developing Diaby into a potential star.

For that, it's not just Diaby who will be grateful.

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