Shaq Barrett visits the Bengals today per source.
— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) March 14, 2019
Playing opposite of All-Pro edge rusher Von Miller for the last four years, Barrett has done quite well for himself throughout his rookie contract in Denver. Originally an undrafted free agent from the 2014 NFL Draft class, Barrett stayed on the Broncos’ practice squad in his rookie season. He fought his way onto the active roster in 2015 and finished third in sacks on a defense that ultimately won Denver a Super Bowl.
2016 saw Barrett’s snaps decrease and in turn his pass rushing production, but his growth as a run defender continued to show. He signed his tender as an exclusive rights free agent in the 2017 offseason, and proceeded to have another productive year. This lead to the Broncos placing a second-round tender on him last offseason.
In his four seasons, Barrett has been incredibly consistent both as a pass rusher and a run defender. Unfortunately for him, his long-term plans with Broncos seemed to end once Bradley Chubb was drafted with the fifth-overall pick in the 2018 draft.
Barrett would definitely improve the Bengals’ pass rush from where it was in 2018. With Michael Johnson becoming a free agent who’s unlikely to return, Barrett would provide better pass-rushing ability at just 26 years of age. Sam Hubbard figures to replace Johnson as the team’s “base” edge defender opposite of Carlos Dunlap, so Barrett would become a rotational pass rusher along the lines of Carl Lawson.
This will all come down to the financials though. The Bengals would be wise to invest similar money to what they were paying Johnson in Barrett, but they may not be willing to put that money on the table. Barrett would make the team better, and that’s the only factor that should matter right now.
Author: John Sheeran