Todd Bowles says the Miami Dolphins got a ‘steal’ in free agency by snagging his former player

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Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Todd Bowles believes that the Miami Dolphins got a “steal” in free agency by signing veteran pass rusher Shaquil Barrett.

Barrett, who spent the last five seasons with the Buccaneers, signed a one-year deal worth $7 million with the Dolphins ($6.75 million guaranteed) after being released by Tampa Bay this offseason.

A two-time Super Bowl champion, Barrett is expected to help Miami’s pass rush, and he could take on a big role early in the season since Bradley Chubb and Jaelan Phillips are both working their way back from season-ending injuries in the 2023 campaign.

“Shaq’s going to be a tough player for them,” Bowles said. “He’s very aggressive. He’s great to work with. He’s a hard worker. I think he’s going to be a steal for them, and I think he’s going to have a very good year.”

The Dolphins have lost a ton of defensive talent this offseason, including pass rusher Andrew Van Ginkel (signed with the Minnesota Vikings) and defensive lineman Christian Wilkins (signed with the Las Vegas Raiders).

Barrett, a two-time Pro Bowler, should give Miami a boost in the 2024 season. Last season, the veteran started 16 games for Tampa Bay, recording 52 combined tackles, three tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks.

The 2023 season certainly wasn’t Barrett’s best of his career, but he was still a productive player for Tampa Bay. Miami is hoping that the 31-year-old still has a lot left in the tank after helping the Denver Broncos and Buccaneers make and win the Super Bowl earlier in his career.

Barrett’s best season came in 2019, which was his first with Tampa. The former undrafted free agent led the NFL with 19.5 sacks, earning him an All-Pro nod for the first time in his career. In addition, Barrett was a candidate for the Defensive Player of the Year award that season, finishing fourth in voting.

Miami’s defense is going to look much different in the 2024 season with players like Wilkins, Van Ginkel, Xavien Howard, Brandon Jones and Jerome Baker all no longer in the mix.

Hopefully, Miami can continue to replace those players this offseason through the 2024 NFL Draft or with more free-agent signings. Barrett will certainly be counted on to help mitigate those losses and lead the Dolphins back to the playoffs for a third straight 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.