Skip to main content

Buccaneers LB Shaquil Barrett (Achilles) expects to be back for Week 1: 'I should be ready to go'

A torn Achilles cut linebacker Shaquil Barrett's year short at the midway point of the Buccaneers' 2022 season, but he believes he'll be back for the start of the 2023 campaign.

"Mentally, it probably had me in a bad spot for like a day or two," Barrett said of the injury Friday on the Loose Cannons Podcast. "Just wanted to sulk in it a little bit. You know, all the questions you ask when something bad happens that you don't want to happen. Physically now though, I'm good. I'm doing the rehab. I'm getting better. I've been jogging on the treadmill. Doing everything pretty much according to plan and on schedule. It might be a little slower right now because we've got a lot of time, so not trying to force anything.

"But I'm ready to go. I'm gonna be ready to go when it's time to go. I'm pretty sure 'time to go' will be the first game. I don't anticipate missing any games. I don't anticipate being on any play counts. So, I should be ready to go for the first game for sure."

Barrett's return from his Week 8 injury, especially at full strength, would be pivotal for a Buccaneers squad that's been hemorrhaging a fair bit of talent on both sides of the ball this offseason, not to mention losing Tom Brady to retirement.

The two-time Pro Bowler has been a force for Tampa Bay since joining the team in 2019, leading the defense in sacks twice while amassing 40.5 through four years.

But it remains a tall task for Barrett to bounce back from such a serious injury and be his normal elite self by Week 1 -- if ever. He's entering his ninth NFL season and turns 31 in November.

When and how Barrett returns bears watching considering his $21.3 million cap hit in 2023 and $23.7 million number in 2024, a sizable jump up from the $8.2 million during his injury-shortened season. Coupled with having no guaranteed salary attached to those years, difficult conversations could arise if the pass rusher's return to form hits too many bumps in the road.

For now, however, all is positive on the recovery front, with Barrett reporting he's experienced no pain in his surgically-repaired Achilles since the second day after the procedure.

He was also optimistic about the return of Devin White, matching the tenor of general manager Jason Licht, who said the team has "no intention" of trading White after Barrett's fellow LB recently requested a trade.

"We're gonna figure it for sure," Barrett said. "There's no way in the world we should trade Devin. They're gonna figure it out. I got faith in Devin's side and I got faith in the front office side."

Should Barrett's predictions on his recovery timeline and his teammate prove correct, the two will be back on the field alongside the recently re-signed Lavonte David to lead Tampa into a new era come September.

Related Content