With the Giants looking to upgrade their pass rush heading into Joe Judge‘s first season, one of the best available players may be off the market before the new league year even has even begun.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are “strongly considering” using their franchise tag on Shaq Barrett, who had a breakout season with 19.5 sacks in 2019.
After five seasons with the Broncos in which he totaled just 14.0 sacks, the former undrafted free agent signed a modest one-year deal with the Bucs, worth just $4 million.
But Barrett led the league in sacks with 19.5 this season, earning his first trip to the Pro Bowl and placing him right around the top of a talented group of free agent pass-rushers.
If Barrett does indeed get tagged by the Bucs, the free agent market would still be highlighted by the likes of Jadeveon Clowney, the former first overall pick whom the Giants have reportedly shown interest in, as well as Yannick Ngakoue, Dante Fowler Jr., and Bud Dupree.
As a team last season, the Giants had just 36 sacks, ranking 22nd in the NFL. Aside from Markus Golden, who had 10 sacks on the season, no Giant had more than 4.5 sacks on the year (Oshane Ximines and Lorenzo Carter).
Also of note, if the Bucs do indeed use their franchise tag on Barrett, they wouldn’t be able to use it on Jameis Winston, the former first overall pick who could hit the quarterback free agent market.