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Five Things: Shaq Barrett

The combination of Jaelan Phillips and Bradley Chubb is among the most lethal edge duos in the National Football League, and they just got more help. The Dolphins added Shaquil Barrett early in free agency, an accomplished pass rusher in his own right.

Barrett has played at least 750 snaps in all but one of the last five seasons (season-ending injury in 2022). His ability to start could benefit a Dolphins pass rush with the top two weapons returning from their own season-ending injuries. Then, whenever Phillips and Chubb return to full speed, the Dolphins have three accomplished quarterback hunters.

Let's get to know the new outside linebacker for the Dolphins, Shaq Barrett:

1. An Easy Guy to Root For

If you haven't seen it yet, get over to the Dolphins YouTube channel and watch Barrett's introduction to the fan base on the Drive Time Podcast.

In that interview, Shaq shares the story of his circuitous path typically reserved for the silver screen. His first college, Nebraska-Omaha, disbanded their football program after Shaq's freshman season. Barrett then went undrafted out of Colorado State, then blossomed as an immediate impact player in the NFL.

The first four years of Barrett's career produced good tape in Denver. He recorded 13.5 sacks, seven forced fumbles, 35 QB hits and 25 tackles for loss. Solid numbers for any player, much less a UDFA. It wasn't until he came to the Sunshine State, however, that Barrett entered a new stratosphere

2. Better with Age

In his first year with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2019), Barrett surpassed his career totals total with 19.5 sacks and 37 QB hits. He also threatened to best the other marks with 19 tackles for loss and six more forced fumbles.

According to Pro Football Focus, Barrett registered 334 QB pressures over five seasons with Tampa Bay. That's four more than Pittsburgh's T.J. Watt during that span and just eight fewer than Cleveland's Myles Garrett. Because Barrett missed some time in 2022, his 14.1 percent pressure rate is best in the NFL over that period among players with at least 1,000 pass rush reps.

3. Just As Good Against the Run

Entering Year 10, Barrett has every pass rush move in his bag, and a counter to each defense an offensive tackle can throw at him. Sometimes, the best pass rushers don't have the same chops against the run but Barrett is not among that group.

In five years with the Bucs, Barrett totaled 249 tackles with 48 for a loss. Both of those were top 10 during that span among all edge defenders (outside linebackers or defensive ends). In total, Barrett has 400 career tackles and 231 stops (a stat measuring defensive wins on a given play from PFF).

4. A Powerful Voice in the Locker Room

Ask any Bucs fan, media member, player, or coach from the last half decade about the person behind the No. 55 jersey, and you're likely to get an ear-to-ear grin followed by a glowing story.

"He's an incredible person. I could go on-and-on," said Bucs General Manager Jason Licht last month. "He's a tremendous player. We'll always leave the door open for Shaq to be a Buc."

In this video clip, Licht continues to say that it was Barrett who calmed him down, not the other way around, on the phone conversation about his release.

The business side of football is tough, but it's clear from Licht's demeanor in that clip that this was one of the tougher decisions to make. And it's Barrett's character and spirit that fuels that contrition.

5. Arrayah Hope Foundation

Barrett's spirit and upbeat attitude is even more impressive considering the difficulties he and his family endured. A tragic accident claimed the life of Barrett's two-year-old daughter in the spring of 2023.

A few months later, Shaq and his wife Jordanna announced "Arrayah of Hope," a foundation that will provide free swim lessons to children in Tampa.

The video below demonstrates Barrett's incredible strength and grace through the grieving process.

For more analysis on Shaq Barrett, and the entire 2024 Dolphins free agency class, download the Drive Time Podcast with Travis Wingfield, available wherever you get your podcasts.