Shaq Barrett would give Arizona Cardinals a lethal pass rush
Back in 2019, Chandler Jones was credited with an amazing 19 quarterback sacks for the Arizona Cardinals. As impressive as that number is, that outstanding amount was not the most in the NFL that season. Coincidentally, the edge-rusher who led the league in that category two years ago is scheduled to hit the free agent market when March 17th rolls around.
Shaq Barrett, a veteran who has spent the past two campaigns with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, had more sacks than Jones in ’19. The 6’2, 250 pounder totaled 19.5, just edging out Arizona’s three-time Pro Bowler for the sack title. Barrett is readying himself for free agency, a scenario which leaves open the possibility that the 28-year old and Jones could actually end up as teammates this coming fall.
Realistically, the chances of that happening are slim. Barrett will be looking to cash in after registering two sensational seasons for Tampa Bay. In fact, the Buccaneers slapped the outside linebacker with the franchise tag in 2020 and could do so again this offseason. If they elect to pass on that, however, the Cards could conceivably take a run at the incredibly-talented sack artist.
Last fall, Barrett totaled 57 tackles, eight sacks,16 quarterback hits and three pass breakups in 15 starts for the Super Bowl champion Buccaneers. The sack number was obviously down, but the Baltimore native was a force for the squad nevertheless. Barrett was a big-time performer for Tampa Bay in the playoffs as well, racking up nine tackles and four sacks in four postseason appearances this past winter.
Barrett entered the league back in 2014, when he signed as an undrafted free agent with the Denver Broncos. The youngster started his college career at the University of Nebraska-Omaha, before transferring to Colorado State University in 2011. Barrett was named Mountain West Conference Defensive Player of the Year in 2013 after tallying 79 tackles (19 for a loss) and 12 sacks in 14 contests for the Rams.
In 92 career games (46 starts) with the Broncos and Buccaneers, Barrett recorded 266 tackles and 41.5 sacks. The defender also has 15 forced fumbles,12 passes defensed and 88 quarterback hits on his professional resume.
A pass-rushing tandem consisting of Jones and Barrett would do wonders for the Cardinals defensive unit. Designing schemes for a duo like that would definitely make coordinator Vance Joseph’s job much easier. While the acquisition of Barrett is probably not financially feasible, it’s incredibly fun to think about nevertheless.