Bucs Unlikely To Retain LB Devin White

With free agency approaching, the Buccaneers have key decisions to make with several pending free agents. Linebacker Devin White is set to see his contract expire, but a new Tampa Bay agreement should not be expected.

The former fifth overall pick sought out a massive extension last offseason, and he requested a trade when talks on that front did not yield an agreement. Little interest was shown around the league, and White ultimately played out the 2023 campaign. He found himself splitting time with K.J. Britt down the stretch, however, and he did not start either of the Bucs’ postseason contests. A departure in free agency would come as no surprise at this point.

“No, we’re still trying to make some decisions on some of those other players,” general manager Jason Licht said at the Combine. “But, you know, Devin did some really good things for us throughout his career, but we’re still sorting out some things” (h/t Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times).

Indeed, the cases of quarterback Baker Mayfieldreceiver Mike Evans and safety Antoine Winfield Jr. are more pressing for Licht and Co. at the moment. The latter is likely to receive the franchise tag, while talks with Mayfield are underway. Evans is the likeliest member of the trio to reach the open market, but a new Tampa deal is still very much on the team’s radar. The same is also true of linebacker Lavonte David, who plans to either continue his storied Tampa Bay career or hang up his cleats.

Especially if David were to agree to another one-year deal, the Bucs could move forward with he, Britt and 2023 fifth-rounder SirVocea Dennis at the linebacker spot. Britt racked up 15 tackles in the playoffs while holding a first-team role, something which initially took place after White was cleared to return to the lineup in December but did not immediately suit up. A lingering foot injury was at the heart of the issue, but reports indicated the former Pro Bowler declined to play upon learning he would be relegated to backup duties. Head coach Todd Bowles pushed back on that notion, and a rotation ensued the rest of the way.

White, 26, would still be one of the more intriguing linebackers on the market given his age and production. He has totaled 566 tackles, 23 sacks and six forced fumbles in five years with Tampa Bay, although his play has not reflected well with respect to PFF grades. Looking to earn back a full-time starting gig, White is on track to find himself with a new team in 2024, and the interest he commands as a free agent will be worth monitoring.

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