Raise your hand if you thought Shaquil Barrett would factor into the Tom Brady sweepstakes.


The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will place their franchise tag on the 27-year-old linebacker, according to multiple reports. Consequently, promising-but-flawed quarterback Jameis Winston is free to test free agency, which officially begins Wednesday. In a roundabout way, the tagging of Barrett — who led the NFL in sacks last season — could directly impact Brady, whom the Buccaneers reportedly have serious interest in pursuing.

NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport addressed the topic Monday on NFL Network.

“For the Bucs, tagging Barrett means Jameis Winston’s going to be a free agent,” Rapoport said. “We’ll see what the Bucs end up doing at the quarterback position — they have some interest in Tom Brady, would like to bring Jameis back, some interest in Teddy Bridgewater. They have a lot of options in Tampa.”

If you’ve managed to keep up with the whirlwind that is Brady’s impending free agency — well done.

Some reports have indicated Brady’s departure from the New England Patriots is inevitable, while others have suggested the exact opposite. The sweepstakes reportedly were down to two teams Sunday night, before a third team was added Monday morning.


More NFL free agency: Latest rumors, reports on Patriots and Tom Brady

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