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Buccaneers releasing two-time Pro Bowl OLB Shaq Barrett

Tampa Bay's number-crunching has commenced.

The Buccaneers are releasing two-time Pro Bowler Shaquil Barrett, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported on Tuesday morning.

Barrett, 31, was due just a $1.2 million base salary, but had a $14.1 million cap number and should provide some savings for the Buccaneers as they prepare to pilot free-agency waters.

Quarterback Baker Mayfield, wide receiver Mike Evans and safety Antoine Winfield, among others, are impending free agents.

"It's never a seamless move," Tampa Bay head coach Todd Bowles said on Tuesday's Good Morning Football after news of Barrett's release. "It's always, you know, from a personal side, you get very close to these guys as well as they do the coaches, and you have a relationship that never goes away. From a business side, in order for us to get better and bring in new talent and upgrade the team, we have to get some of these things done, and they're hard decisions, but Shaq has been great for us over the past five years. He came in, he made a heck of a name for himself. He's one of the best human beings you could ever meet, and he's still got some great playing abilities left in him."

Barrett, who won Super Bowls with the Denver Broncos and Bucs, became a Pro Bowler in his first season with Tampa, turning in a league-high 19.5 sacks in 2019. He had just 4.5 sacks in 16 games during the 2023 season, though.

Still, he should provide some pass-rush punch to a willing suitor, and Bowles didn't slam the door shut on a return.

"These tough decisions have to be made for us to move on," Bowles said. "He understands that, and we understand that. And who knows, we'll see what happens down the line."

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