Lavonte David

Contract Details: David, Eluemunor, Agholor, Howard

Here are a few contract details on deals recently reached around the league:

  • Lavonte David, LB (Buccaneers): One year, $4.5MM. The deal, according to Greg Auman of FOX Sports, is quite a complicated one. It has guaranteed money at $3.34MM, consisting of David’s signing bonus. The remainder of the contract value is a veteran league minimum salary of $1.17MM. The signing bonus is spread out over four void years that help dissipate his cap hit.
  • Nelson Agholor, WR (Ravens): One year, $3.25MM. The contract, according to Wilson, is fully guaranteed with a $2.09MM signing bonus adding to the veteran league minimum base salary of $1.17MM. There is $3MM of incentives based on playing time, playoffs, catches, yards, and touchdowns. The Ravens somewhat uncharacteristically gave Agholor a high enough value to qualify him as a seventh-round valued compensatory free agent signing. The move wipes out a sixth-round compensatory pick that Baltimore would’ve received in 2024 for the departure of tight end Josh Oliver. The team also continues to go outside their comfort zone by once again creating a contract with void years, something they had never done prior to this offseason. Agholor’s deal has four void years to spread his cap hit out over time.
  • Jermaine Eluemunor, T (Raiders): One year, $3MM. The new contract, according to Aaron Wilson of KPRC 2, has a guaranteed amount of $2.29MM, which includes a signing bonus of $491,000 and most of Eluemunor’s base salary. The deal includes a $142,000 workout bonus and a per game active roster bonus of $30,000 for a potential season total of $510,000.
  • O.J. Howard, TE (Raiders): One year, $1.23MM. The deal, according to Wilson, includes a guaranteed amount of $451,250, consisting of a $76,250 signing bonus and $375,000 of his base salary (worth a total of $1.08MM).

Buccaneers To Bring Back Lavonte David

Lavonte David intends to sign another Buccaneers contract. The 10-year Tampa Bay starter is coming back on a one-year deal, according to CBS Sports’ Josina Anderson (on Twitter).

This will be David’s fourth Bucs contract. He stayed with the team in 2021, as part of the defending champions’ historic talent-retention effort, and will join Jamel Dean and Anthony Nelson in returning to the squad for the 2023 season. Despite the Bucs coming into March nearly $60MM over the cap, they have done well to retain some core defenders. They have also agreed to bring in Baker Mayfield.

David wanted to stay with the Bucs and test the market; he has now accomplished both offseason goals.The 12th-year defender will be back for $7MM, Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero of report (on Twitter). The deal is guaranteed.

David joined Bobby Wagner as linebacker stalwarts going into age-33 seasons. While David’s All-Pro count does not approach Wagner’s historic number, he has been one of the greatest defenders in Bucs history. David’s 166 starts are top five in franchise history, trailing only Hall of Famers Ronde Barber Brooks and Derrick Brooks and longtime left tackle Paul Gruber.

The void years included on David’s previous Bucs contract would have led to the team carrying nearly $7MM on its 2023 cap sheet even if he was on another team. Reaching this deal before the 2023 league year begins will help the Bucs, who will now have David on their cap sheet to play. Considering David’s production to this point, the Bucs will be counting on him to deliver another season for a team that still houses a number of starters from Super Bowl LV.

Tampa Bay received an 18-game season from David, who tallied 124 tackles — his most since 2015 — and three sacks. The former second-round pick has been one of this era’s best linebackers, despite lacking in Pro Bowl nods. The Pro Bowl formula has worked against David for much of his career, with 4-3 outside linebackers — David’s official position until the Bucs switched to a 3-4 look under Todd Bowles in 2019 — grouped together with 3-4 pass rushers. Pro Football Focus has rated David as a top-five off-ball ‘backer in three of the past four seasons, slotting him third overall in 2022.

While Tom Brady‘s retirement figures to lower the Bucs’ profile in 2023, they are still bringing back six starters from Super Bowl LV on defense. Their offense still carries four first-stringers from that game, with Mayfield potentially stepping into Brady’s role in piloting it. That will do the most in defining how the Bucs respond after a 2022 letdown, but David continuing his partnership with Devin White — who is likely on the verge of a top-market extension — will go a long way toward giving the Bucs’ offense a sturdy safety net.

LB Rumors: Wagner, David, Bills, Al-Shaair

The Seahawks may be interested in bringing back Bobby Wagner. John Schneider and Pete Carroll spoke with the future Hall of Fame linebacker recently, according to the GM. Schneider said (via the Seattle Times’ Bob Condotta) the team will keep in contact with Wagner during his free agency. The Seahawks shed Wagner’s pricey deal from their payroll last year, but with the decorated ex-Seattle defender not in position to command a lucrative long-term deal ahead of his age-33 season, a reunion would make a bit more sense. The team has also rebounded quicker than most expected post-Wagner and Russell Wilson, reaching the playoffs. Wagner is believed to be eyeing a contender, having asked for his Rams release. Pro Football Focus rated Wagner as the NFL’s top off-ball linebacker last season, which was also Wagner’s ninth straight first- or second-team All-Pro campaign.

Here is the latest from the league’s linebacker scene:

  • Wagner and Lavonte David will both be available on the market. David is not planning to re-sign with the Buccaneers ahead of free agency, Ian Rapoport of tweets. If Tampa Bay wants its 10-year starter back, it will need to outbid others to secure such a deal. The Bucs managed to bring back David (and every other in-house free agent of consequence) in 2021, agreeing to a two-year deal. After the standout defender played out that contract, he joins Wagner in being a UFA linebacker ahead of an age-33 season. The Bucs remain in the league’s worst cap shape, so they will have a tough time bringing back David, who stands to command another short-term accord.
  • 49ers linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair will have a clear connection to the Texans, with DeMeco Ryans now their head coach. The Texans also hired ex-49ers assistant Chris Kiffin as their linebackers coach. Kiffin is a big fan of Al-Shaair, per The Athletic’s Matt Barrows, who notes Ryans is probably quite high on the free agent-to-be as well (subscription required). The 49ers have Fred Warner locked into a top-market contract and inked Dre Greenlaw to a midlevel extension last year. They are bracing to lose Al-Shaair, who figures to generate interest from the Ryans-led team.
  • Bills GM Brandon Beane said the team has discussed a new deal with Tremaine Edmunds, the biggest fish in a deep off-ball linebacker pond this year. But Edmunds’ comments last month still point to him reaching free agency to listen to other teams’ offers. Although this is a crowded market, Edmunds should still expect to do well in his first free agency foray.
  • The FalconsLorenzo Carter two-year deal carries a base value of $9MM, Field Yates of tweets. The ex-Giant will earn $5.25MM guaranteed on his second Falcons contract, Michael Rothstein of adds (via Twitter). He will carry a $5.25MM cap hit in 2023, and Yates adds an additional $1MM will be available via incentives.

Lavonte David Eyeing New Buccaneers Deal

The top storyline of the Buccaneers’ offseason to date has of course been the second retirement of Tom Brady and the team’s resultant need for a new starting quarterback. A mainstay on the defensive side of the ball also faces an uncertain future, however, and figures to be a top priority.

Linebacker Lavonte David is a pending free agent, but he has no intention of testing the open market to head elsewhere this offseason. The 33-year-old has spent his entire 11-year career in Tampa Bay, serving as a defensive captain and consistent producer along the way. His preference would be to finish his NFL tenure where it started.

While making an appearance on WDAE radio during Super Bowl week, David said that contract talks have yet to commence between he and the Buccaneers’ front office. He expects that to change soon, however, with a new deal keeping him in the middle of the team’s defense likely to be one of Tampa’s top offseason goals. The former second-rounder remained a full-time starter in 2022, registering more than 100 tackles for the ninth time in his career while adding three sacks and a forced fumble.

“Obviously, I would love to be back in Tampa,” David said, via Bailey Adams of Pewter Report. “I played 11 years there. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. But I’m not naïve to the business side of football. So, I’m definitely grateful for whatever happens after.”

David played on one of the largest cap hits in the league amongst defenders last season ($14.79MM). The Buccaneers would certainly like to lower that figure on a new contract, especially with Brady’s dead cap charge coming in full in 2023. However, his continued production and effective pairing alongside Devin White suggest David can remain a key member of the team’s defense for at least the short term.

A new contract would allow David to continue climbing the ranks in the franchise’s record books in a number of categories. He ranks third all-time in tackles (1,346) and fifth in games played (166), numbers which would each grow considerably if he gets his wish and is able to continue his career in Tampa.

Largest 2022 Cap Hits: Defense

After looking at this year’s top salary cap numbers on the offensive side of the ball, here is a rundown of the players counting the most toward their teams’ payrolls in 2022.

As could be expected, the salary figures here start below the quarterbacks. A few pass rushers, however, are tied to notable cap hits. Those numbers that check in within the top 20 leaguewide regardless of position. With the exception of true nose tackles and pure slot cornerbacks, every defensive position is represented here.

Here are the top cap figures on the defensive side for the ’22 season:

  1. T.J. Watt, OLB (Steelers): $31.12MM
  2. Chris Jones, DT (Chiefs): $29.42MM
  3. Joey Bosa, OLB (Chargers): $28.25MM
  4. Leonard Williams, DL (Giants): $27.3MM
  5. Aaron Donald, DT (Rams): $27MM
  6. Jalen Ramsey, CB (Rams): $23.2MM
  7. Deion Jones, LB (Falcons): $20.1MM
  8. Bud Dupree, OLB (Titans): $19.2MM
  9. Justin Simmons, S (Broncos): $18.85MM
  10. Javon Hargrave, DT (Eagles): $17.8MM
  11. C.J. Mosley, LB (Jets): $17.5MM
  12. Cameron Heyward, DL (Steelers): $17.42MM
  13. Robert Quinn, DE (Bears): $17.14MM
  14. Matt Judon, OLB (Patriots): $16.5MM
  15. DeForest Buckner, DT (Colts): $16MM
  16. Shaquill Griffin, CB (Jaguars): $16.44MM
  17. Tre’Davious White, CB (Bills): $16.4MM
  18. J.J. Watt, DL (Cardinals): $15.9MM
  19. Marcus Peters, CB (Ravens): $15.5MM
  20. Carl Lawson, DE (Jets): $15.33MM
  21. Eddie Jackson, S (Bears): $15.1MM
  22. Lavonte David, LB (Buccaneers): $14.79MM
  23. Budda Baker, S (Cardinals): $14.78MM
  24. Romeo Okwara, DE (Lions): $14.5MM
  25. Trey Hendrickson, DE (Bengals): $14.49MM
  • Illustrating how much the cap has climbed over the past several seasons, T.J. Watt is tied to a number nearly twice that of J.J. Watt, who has been tied to $16.7MM-per-year (a defender-record number in 2014) and $14MM-AAV deals as a pro. Trailing his older brother in Defensive Player of the Year honors, T.J. is signed to an edge defender-record $28MM-per-year accord.
  • Jones’ four-year Chiefs deal vaults from an $8.5MM cap number in 2021 to the league’s second-highest defensive figure this year. The standout defensive tackle’s cap hit accompanies Patrick Mahomes‘ $35.79MM number, which is well north of his 2021 figure, on Kansas City’s new-look payroll.
  • After two franchise tags, Williams scored a monster extension in 2021. The well-paid Giants D-lineman’s cap number this year is way up from his 2021 number ($9.4MM).
  • The Rams redid Donald’s contract last month, adding no new years to the through-2024 pact. The all-world defender’s cap hit actually decreases in 2023, dropping to $26MM
  • It is not certain Deion Jones will be back with the Falcons, who have jettisoned other Super Bowl LI cornerstones from the roster since the current regime took over in 2021. But they would save just $1MM were they to release the seventh-year linebacker.
  • To date, this represents the high-water mark for Mosley cap hits on his Jets deal, which at the time (2019) began a sea change for off-ball linebacker contracts. Mosley’s cap hit, on a pact that runs through 2024 because of the linebacker opting out of the 2020 season, increased by $10MM from 2021-22.
  • Hargrave is one of five Eagles pass rushers signed to veteran contracts. The ex-Steeler’s 2021 deal accompanies Brandon Graham, Josh Sweat, Haason Reddick, and Fletcher Cox‘s new agreement on Philadelphia’s defensive front. As cap hits do not reflect average salaries, Hargrave is the only member of this quartet tied to an eight-figure cap number in 2022.
  • Quinn has also been connected to a departure, with the 31-year-old pass rusher skipping minicamp after it became known he would like to be traded away from the rebuilding team. His cap hit tops the Bears’ payroll. The Bears would save $12.9MM by trading Quinn, should another team sign up for taking on his full 2022 base salary.

Minor NFL Transactions: 1/15/22

Here are Saturday’s minor moves:

Dallas Cowboys

Kansas City Chiefs

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

San Francisco 49ers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Buccaneers To Activate Lavonte David, Giovani Bernard; Leonard Fournette To Remain On IR

Part of the Buccaneers’ injured contingent will be back in uniform for the defending champions Sunday. Lavonte David and Giovani Bernard are set to come off IR on Saturday, Jenna Laine of tweets.

David suffered a foot injury in Week 15, joining Leonard Fournette and Chris Godwin in going down during a shutout loss to the Saints. Godwin is done for the season, and Laine adds Fournette will not be activated ahead of Saturday’s roster-setting deadline. Fournette is battling a hamstring injury.

While Bernard has not played a key role this season, he will be in line to do so against the Eagles. Not only is Fournette out, but the Bucs also declared Ronald Jones out because of an ankle injury. Tampa Bay has Bernard, Ke’Shawn Vaughn and Le’Veon Bell as its healthy backs.

Fournette carried the load for the Bucs for most of this season, reducing Jones and the others to bit parts. The former Jaguars top-five pick totaled a Bucs-most 1,266 scrimmage yards in 14 games. Fournette can still be activated ahead of a divisional-round game or the NFC championship, provided this Bucs iteration’s season extends that far.

One of the NFL’s top off-ball linebackers over the past 10 seasons, David was instrumental to the Bucs claiming their second Super Bowl title last season. He totaled 97 tackles and two forced fumbles this season and ranks as Pro Football Focus’ No. 7 linebacker. David will be tasked with leading a charge against an Eagles team that leads the NFL in rushing.

Bruce Arians said Shaquil Barrett and Jason Pierre-Paul are also on track to return against Philadelphia. While Barrett was a full practice participant Friday, JPP did not suit up for even a limited session due to his shoulder and knee injuries. JPP is not on IR, however, and has not been declared out.

Minor NFL Transactions: 1/12/22

Here are Wednesday’s minor moves:

Dallas Cowboys 

Green Bay Packers

Los Angeles Rams

Pittsburgh Steelers

San Francisco 49ers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs Designate Lavonte David, Leonard Fournette, Giovani Bernard For Return

After sustaining several injury subtractions down the stretch, the Buccaneers are preparing to deploy a healthier squad for their first-round playoff matchup. The defending champs designated Lavonte David, Leonard Fournette and Giovani Bernard for return from IR on Wednesday.

David has been down since suffering a foot injury during the Bucs’ Week 15 loss to the Saints, one of a few key Bucs who did not make it past that night. The veteran linebacker has spent the past three weeks on IR but is eligible to return for Sunday’s Eagles tilt. Also seeing an ankle malady sideline him earlier in the campaign, David missed five games during the regular season due to injury.

Joining David in going down in that Saints shutout loss, Fournette returned to practice and is expected to play Sunday. Fournette enjoyed a bounce-back season, rushing for 812 yards (on 4.5 per carry) in 14 games, before suffering a hamstring injury in Week 15. The playoffs stand to be pivotal for Fournette, who is on the cusp of what should be a better free agent market. The former top-five pick played a vital role for the Bucs during last year’s postseason, totaling 448 yards from scrimmage and scoring four touchdowns.

Bernard has been down a bit longer, missing that Saints tilt and having not played since Week 14. One of the few key newcomers for Tampa Bay this season, Bernard has not played much of a role for his second NFL team. The longtime Bengal has totaled just 181 scrimmage yards in 12 games.

The Bucs activated Shaquil Barrett from IR on Tuesday, and Bruce Arians also expects Jason Pierre-Paul to return after a rotator cuff tear sidelined him for the past four games. While Richard Sherman is done for the season, the Bucs stand to be a much healthier squad when they play their 18th game this season.

Lavonte David Done For Regular Season

THURSDAY: Both David and Fournette are now on IR. The Bucs ended the regular seasons of both starters with these moves, but the door will be open for each to return by Tampa Bay’s first playoff game.

WEDNESDAY: The Buccaneers’ sudden availability concerns now stretch to their defensive second level. They are set to be without Lavonte David for the regular season’s remainder, according to Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times.

David suffered a foot injury during Tampa Bay’s shutout loss to New Orleans. He will join Leonard Fournette in missing the regular season’s final three games. Both starters are obvious IR candidates, with three games remaining until the playoffs.

The team’s longest-tenured player, David re-signed on a third deal to stay in Tampa this offseason. The 10th-year linebacker has been a starter since being chosen in the 2012 second round. He missed two games earlier this year but has played in the Bucs’ past seven, running his tackle total to 97 and mixing in two sacks. David, 31, played a key role in keeping the Saints at nine points, recording 11 tackles and a sack.

While Sunday night’s Saints game cost the Bucs David and Fournette for a while, Chris Godwin endured the worst blow in suffering a torn ACL months away from free agency. Tampa Bay may also be without Mike Evans for multiple weeks, though the eighth-year wideout’s timetable is not yet certain. Fournette, who is also months away from what should be a more lucrative run in free agency, sustained a hamstring injury that led to him leaving Raymond James Stadium on crutches.

After entering Week 15 tied with Green Bay at 11-3, Tampa Bay’s odds to obtain a bye for the first time since 2002 are down to 5% — per — going into Week 16. The Bucs’ homestretch does feature three winnable games — two against the Panthers, one against the Jets — but the defending champs will be missing some of their top players going into the postseason.