There’s been plenty of talk lately about players betting on themselves. Signing a multi-year deal that doesn’t give the player an early out or doesn’t ensure that, if he performs like the very best in the league at his position in the sport, his pay will be adjusted accordingly isn’t really an instance of a player betting on himself.
A player truly bets on himself when he signs a one-year deal that gives the team no ability to squat on a bargain for another year or two but that lets the player follow a great year with a trip to the market. That’s exactly how Buccaneers defensive end Shaquil Barrett, the 2019 PFT defensive player of the year, wagered on himself.
“[T]hat’s why we did a one-year contract,” Barrett’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, told JoeBucsFan.com on Monday. “I knew he had it in him.”
What Barrett had in him was a league-leading 19.5 sacks. Next surely will be the franchise tag or the transition tag. (If there’s no CBA by the start of the new league year, the Bucs will have one of each, to possibly be used on Barrett and quarterback Jameis Winston. If a new CBA is finalized by then, the Bucs will be able to use only the franchise tag or the transition tag on one of them.) After that, the tag for Barrett could become a long-term deal.
However it plays out, Barrett placed an all-in wager on himself, and it’s now going to pay off, with a true and legitimate upside for his performance that will reward him not just fairly but also fully for his accomplishments in 2019.