Editor’s note: Shaquil Barrett has agreed to a four-year deal to stay with the Tampa Bay Buccanneers, per Ian Rapoport of NFL Media. He’s now off the market and the Las Vegas Raiders won’t be able to target him. Still, it would’ve been nice.
The Raiders aren’t famous for much these days. Other than Jon Gruden’s return and the departure of future Hall of Famer DE Khalil Mack, not much of note has happened. For the time being, the Raiders are in desperate need of a blue-chip pass rusher. One is available.
Two-time Super Bowl Champion Shaquil Barrett’s time may be up in Tampa Bay. Meanwhile, it’s time for the Las Vegas Raiders to go all-in on the premier pass rusher. The Colorado State product is coming off one of his most dominant seasons with the Buccaneers, capped with a performance at the 2020 season Super Bowl.
Anyone that watched that game remembers Barrett breaking out of the right side of the field and subsequently sending Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes running for his life. Moreover, he logged eight pressures, one sack, and four hits.
If you ask any fan of the Silver and Black one of the most lacking qualities in the defense for the 2020 season was the defensive line getting to the quarterback. The aforementioned scene of Mahomes “running for his life” was not an image Raiders fans viewed often this season. The most effective player on the defensive line was DE Maxx Crosby who registered 7 sacks, 20 solo tackles, and 13 QB hits.
In comparison, Shaq Barrett logged eight sacks, 43 solo tackles, and 16 hits. One of Barrett’s strongest stats is his ability to pressure the quarterback. He can make opposing signal-callers uncomfortable, and force those incompletions or interceptions. Last season, he put together 43 pressures and in 2019 he topped it with 58. Crosby led the Raiders with 32 pressures, and Clelin Ferrell came in second with 21.
The Raiders need to find a way to get Shaquil Barrett
One can argue that Barrett plays in a different system that actually schemes its players to their strengths. However, the fact of the matter is Barrett is an elite edge rusher and Crosby can’t do it all himself. The Raiders have ignored several top pass rushers in the draft and in free agency. They need to rectify that.
With the available cap space and the possibility that the Buccaneers can’t re-sign all their stars from last season, Shaq Barrett needs to be a very real option for the Raiders. The defensive line requires new blood. Nevertheless, there is no substitute for a two-time Super Bowl Champion to help new defensive coordinator Gus Bradley turn this unit around.
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