Despite the fact that the Bucs’ middle linebacker Devin White has requested to be traded, he is not going anywhere. Tampa Bay Buccaneers GM Jason Licht has put that trade rumor to bed.
In a recent interview, when asked about the possibility of trading Devin White, Jason Licht responded by saying, “We all have all the respect in the world for Devin. He’s done some great things for us as a player, and we look forward to more from him; in the future. He’s on our team. We are looking forward to the season. We’re gearing up for the season with the draft right now and free agency. We’re looking forward to him being a part of this team. If he has the kind of year that we all think he’s capable of, we can hopefully put this to rest, and everybody is happy. I have no intention of trading Devin.”
Right now, Devin White is playing on his fifth-year option with Tampa Bay, and just like most players, who were drafted high just like he was, he’s looking for a massive second contract. As I’m sure a lot of Bucs fans can recall: back in 2019, Devin White stated, “Draft me because when I hit free agency in five years, the price will go up. I’ll be looking for $100 million then.”
As far as I’m concerned, Devin, despite being a captain and a leader on the defense and the one responsible for receiving the plays and calling the signals on defense; White hasn’t done enough to be worthy of being offered that much money. I understand that nobody likes playing in the final year of their contract, especially a player of his caliber, because there is no guarantee of anything past that.
Devin White is an incredible athlete. He’s fast, and he can tackle, but with being fast: his weakness is that he over-commits and tends to miss tackles when he does that. There have been several instances in which many fans have noticed that he disappears in certain games.
In the same interview, Jason Licht was also asked what he would do if White decides to hold out and not play if he doesn’t get the contract he wants. Licht said “I can’t look into the future. As I said, we have the utmost respect for Devin. It’s part of the business of this job that we have. He’s a competitor. He’s a player. Everybody holds him in high regard.”
With Lavonte David on a one-year deal and Devin White playing on his fifth-year option, there has been speculation that Jason Licht will be looking to use a high draft pick on a linebacker, just in case it turns out that neither David nor White is with the Bucs in 2024. Jason Licht also responded to this rumor by saying, “Going back a few years, we’ve come very close to taking inside linebackers high just because we know the depth of that position and how important it is. Not to necessarily replace Devin White and Lavonte David in the last few years at all, but in the last few years, depth has proven to be one of the things that have been related to our success in winning the Super Bowl. We’re never not looking at the middle linebackers or the inside linebackers. There’s always some good players at every position in every draft. I wouldn’t say that position is a strength of this draft. But, yes, we’re always looking, and if it’s at the right time, at the right place, the right fit, we wouldn’t be afraid to take one, no.”
The fact that Jason Licht brought up Lavonte David: it may be a clue that his time with the Bucs might be coming to an end soon. That would really suck because he has been the anchor on our defense since he was drafted in 2012 out of Nebraska. I would put Lavonte David up there with some of the best linebackers in the history of the Bucs franchise, such as Derrick Brooks and Hardy Nickerson. But if Lavonte David isn’t with the Bucs in 2024, that also speaks to just how important Devin White has become to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Devin White also has to realize that this year, the Bucs aren’t in the greatest position to offer him a long-term contract because of how little salary cap room they have to play with, and Jason Licht still needs enough wiggle room to sign our draft picks. However, next year, during the 2024 offseason, I wouldn’t be surprised to see White receive a huge contract, especially if he goes off and has a great year this coming season. I fully expect Devin White to be the leader of the Bucs’ defense for years to come. He just has to have a little bit more patience.