Buccaneers Confirm To Finally Reached Agreement To Sign Former $98.5 Million All-Pro Superstar In Free Agent

Two of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ finest defensive players were lost to free agency over the offseason; linebackers Devin White and Shaq Barrett went to the Miami Dolphins and Philadelphia Eagles, respectively.

Reenforcements will be required at some point, even though the Buccaneers welcome back an elderly standout at linebacker in Lavonte David, who inked a 1-year, $8.5 million contract in March 2024. and there’s still no place for one of the NFL’s top linebackers of the past few seasons.

The four-time NFL All-Pro linebacker Shaquille Leonard signed a five-year, $98.5 million contract with the Indianapolis Colts before the 2021 season, but the Colts waived Leonard in November 2023 after he complained about playing time. For this reason, Brad Smith of The Pewter Plank believes the Buccaneers should sign Leonard as a free agent.
Leonard has a one-year contract with the Eagles at the end of 2023.

Smith stated that Tampa Bay had approximately $7.5 million in cap space remaining after all of their offseason transactions, which is more than enough to pay Leonard the veteran’s standard minimum. “Tampa Bay’s young locker room could benefit greatly from the experience of David, Britt, and Leonard, who together would be an improvement over David and White from last season.”
In the NFL, Leonard is “Waiting On That Opportunity.”
Leonard, who began his career as Darius Leonard, was selected by the Colts in the second round of the 2018 NFL draft out of South Carolina State. From 2018 to 2021, he was one of the best linebackers in the league.

In addition to being selected to four consecutive NFL All-Pro Teams from 2018 to 2021 and three consecutive Pro Bowls from 2019 to 2021, Leonard was named the 2018 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year. In 2018 and 2021, he recorded the most tackles (163) and forced fumbles (8) in the NFL, respectively.
Due to injuries, he only participated in four games in 2022. Prior to the 2023 season, he had back surgery, but his recovery was sluggish and he suffered a concussion and broken nose, which limited his playing time upon his comeback.

After just six seasons, Leonard finds himself seeking for a place to play after what seemed to be a Hall of Fame start to his career.

Leonard stated to The Indianapolis Star on June 22 that he was “moreso just sitting back, getting the body healthy, and whenever the opportunity presents itself, we’ll give it a try.” “I just work hard and stay true to who I am. When it occurs, it occurs. It doesn’t if it doesn’t. Even though I occasionally take a break from it, I believe that I’ve had a fantastic career overall. I’m content with my life and am only awaiting that chance.
One FA linebacker was already signed by the Buccaneers in 24.

The Buccaneers have already signed one linebacker as a free agent this offseason, and it resulted in their only negative press thus far.

Randy Gregory, an outside linebacker, was signed by Tampa Bay in April 2024 to a one-year, $3 million contract. In response, he missed minicamp without cause.
Like Leonard, Gregory has a lengthy history of off-field problems in the NFL. However, in March 2022, he signed a 5-year, $70 million contract with the Denver Broncos, making him one of the league’s highest-paid linebackers at one point.



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