September 27, 2023

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Cap reality: Could these playoffs be Lavonte David’s Swan Song in Tampa?

3 min read

Tampa Bay Buccaneers inside linebacker Lavonte David (54) reacts during the first half of an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears, Thursday, Oct. 8, 2020, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Kamil Krzaczynski)

David VS Brooks

You may wonder how David stacks up to the most prolific defender in Bucs History. I did too, so I looked it up. Compared to Derrick Brooks (14 seasons, VS 11 seasons for David) I used both players’ solo tackles through 11 seasons. Brooks’ total is 1,062 solo, and David’s solo total is 997 separating the two by only 65 tackles. Both players had seasons playing with not much talent on either side of the ball. Both players were also on Super Bowl-winning teams. Knowing the supreme greatness that was Mr. Derrick Brooks, it’s impressive that they are only separated by 65 tackles in both players’ first eleven NFL seasons.

“No respect” and paying on credit

We all know that Lavonte David has never gotten the fame and acclaim that he deserves. Ironic that Brooks’ talents were no secret, while David remains an unknown and unrespected talent by many fans of other NFL Teams. Yet comparatively, their stats are close. You could say he’s the Rodney Dangerfield of Linebackers. The Bucs stand to lose David next season as he becomes an unrestricted free agent. The game is still a business, and hard decisions must and will be made by the time they hit the field in 2023. As fans, we need to prepare ourselves to lose the anchor of our defense for the last eleven years. Complicating matters is the fact that all the front office’s cap moves to keep the talent at home during the previous 3 seasons’ run will eventually come due. That could happen in 2023, or with more moves, could extend the big hit until 2024. Dead money is the biggest toll weighing against the Bucs. So even though the salary cap figure for 2023 is expected to jump 17 million to the good, The Bucs will still be in a sticky wicket. Signing marquee players is a beautiful thing; when you are winning a Super Bowl and leading in so many NFL-wide stat columns (2020-2021). The reality of the true cost of bringing in these kinds of players is going to hit home very soon. Players that may not even be on the team in 2023 will still count against our cap situation. It’s kind of like the Rays’ roster and financial situation VS the Yankees. The Yankees spend enormous amounts of cash to field a top-tier team, often mortgaging young future stars for current stars from other teams. The Rays, on the other hand, aren’t much of a player in the free agent market, depending on their farm system and player development to fill their roster. It would be inspiring to see the Bucs become a more consistently good team via the Rays’ way of doing things rather than monetarily going balls to the wall for three or four years and then going through a success-starved run of 6 to 10 years of bad teams because of Cap woes. The Miami Marlins used the latter approach to win two World Series but then held fire sales to rid themselves of pricey contracts/payroll.

Winding it up

The team is sure to try and retain Lavonte David. You get the feeling David would love to finish his career as a Buccaneer. So, the two sides may find a way to keep the very productive defensive stopgap. Again, what it might take to keep him here could further cost us and add to our cap headache that is coming soon. It’s a blast to go on lavish shopping sprees with your favorite charge card. That, of course, leads to dreading the eventual bills and mailbox avoidance. I myself would love to see the Bucs become a better talent development-type team like Green Bay or Pittsburgh. As they say, it is what it is. In a game that is becoming more and more about big money and the business side of things, it would be nice to see the team find a way to keep a fan favorite like Lavonte David playing at home in Tampa until he hangs them up; stay tuned. Go Bucs!!


Stat source- Lavonte David, Derrick Brooks