How the Miami Dolphins helped themselves and hurt an AFC East rival by signing Shaquil Barrett

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Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports

New Miami Dolphins pass rusher Shaquil Barrett revealed that all signs pointed to him landing with the New York Jets before he agreed to a deal with the Dolphins this offseason.

That makes the Dolphins’ move to add Barrett – a two-time Pro Bowler – even more important, as they kept him from landing with a division rival.

“My agent was talkin’ to me about potentially goin’ to New York,” Barrett said. “And it was New York all the way up until maybe – I don’t remember what day I signed – but it was New York until the day I ended up agreeing to terms with the Dolphins.

“And they just came out of left field, for real. And I loved the prospect of goin’ to New York, but Dolphins, they just more established as a team.”

Barrett also revealed that he was tempted by the idea of partnering up with some of the pass rushers in Miami – presumably Bradley Chubb and Jaelan Phillips, who are both coming off of season-ending injuries in the 2023 campaign.

The Dolphins newcomer mentioned that the tax laws in Florida helped sweeten the deal as well.

A two-time Super Bowl champion, Barrett spent the last five seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after beginning his career with the Denver Broncos.

The veteran started 16 games for Tampa Bay last season, recording 52 combined tackles, three tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks. While it wasn’t his best season, Barrett still is expected to bring a lot of leadership and experience to the Dolphins’ defense.

“I just think it was a little bit better of an opportunity,” Barrett said of going to the Dolphins over the Jets. “And then, just thinkin’ of my family, I had to factor that in a little bit, too. So now, we’ll be able to stay in our Tampa home.”

Miami has lost several key defenders – such as Andrew Van Ginkel, Christian Wilkins, Jerome Baker, Xavien Howard and Brandon Jones – this offseason, so it was a big move to add an impact player like Barrett in free agency.

Back in the 2019 season, Barrett led the league with 19.5 sacks, showing his impact in his first season with the Bucs. He earned an All-Pro nod for the first time in his career that season and finished fourth in voting for the Defensive Player of the Year award.

If he can find that form again, the Dolphins are going to be a dangerous team, assuming Chubb and Phillips can also get back to form after the injuries they dealt with last season.

Regardless, the Dolphins have to love that Barrett will be in a Miami jersey – not a Jets one – in the 2024 season.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.