After failing to work out an extension this offseason, Devin White requested a trade from the Buccaneers. When addressing the media for the first time since then, the linebacker confirmed he has reversed course on that front and hopes to remain in Tampa Bay for the long haul.
The Buccaneers, to no surprise, made it clear they would not entertain offers for the former fifth overall pick, though not much of a trade market is believed to have emerged. Contract talks were at the heart of White’s impasse with Tampa, with the 25-year-old thought to be seeking an extension which would place him in the top five amongst inside linebackers in terms of annual compensation.
White arrived at Buccaneers minicamp, but did not participate. He is now slated to move forward with training camp practices despite not having in deal in place, however. The LSU alum is slated to earn $11.7MM in 2023 on the fifth-year option, but his future beyond this season is up in the air.
“I just wanted to be the guy here for a long time,” White said, via Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times. “After really just sitting down with Coach [Todd] Bowles and [GM] Jason Licht and just understanding their plan for me, what they’ve got in play and coming up with something with those guys and seeing how I could be better. And moving forward, I think we all came to a good agreement, and that’s why I’m here, just focusing on the season now.”
White’s trade request was a key talking point during a Bucs offseason in which the team was faced with retaining as many incumbents as possible (especially on defense) despite being in a financial bind. Fellow inside linebacker Lavonte David was re-upped on a one-year deal, and White named the former All-Pro as an example he would like to follow over the course of a lengthy tenure in Tampa Bay.
“I don’t think there’s any regret, and I don’t think it’s just about being paid,” the latter said when asked about his handling of the trade request. “I just want to be a long-term guy, you know? I just want to be a guy like Lavonte. He’s been here forever. I wanted to be that next guy. And, you know, we just didn’t make it happen when I wanted to, and that’s why I kind of got a little selfish, even though I knew I still have the option that was sitting in place.”
White – who has filled the statsheet during his career but drawn underwhelming reviews in terms of advanced metrics – will be counted on as a key member of a Buccaneers team which will likely need to lean heavily on its defense to have success in 2023. With his trade request now in the rearview, team and player will attempt to move forward and find a long-term contract resolution down the road.