The big news from this weekend was that the Bucs and their star LB Lavonte David finally came to terms on a contract extension. Everyone following the Bucs had been expecting this to come sometime before the season started, so this was no surprise.
Thankfully for the Bucs, David wasn’t making a scene and holding out of camp until the new deal was reached, though. Since a dominant 4-3 OLB is a rare commodity in the NFL these days, there weren’t many contracts to look at and try to predict what David’s new deal might be.
When the details of the deal came out, 5-years $50.25 million with $25.56 million guaranteed, some people may have been a little surprised. NFL Network’s Ian Rappaport is also reporting that escalators in the deal could make it worth almost $55 million.
A few weeks ago Spotrac projected that the highest deal the Bucs may hand out could be up to $9 million a year. David’s new deal averages out to more than $10 million a year, however if you add his extension onto his $1.1 million cap hit for 2015, it will be like he is getting $51.35 million over six years, or about $8.5 million a year. That is a very fair price for six years of one of the NFL’s most dominant defensive players.
David’s new deal should bring some more notoriety to the 2013 First Team All-Pro who has never been selected to a Pro Bowl. Sometimes it takes big contracts to make headlines and make people realize a player’s impact. His guaranteed money is now the second-most for any “linebacker” in the league, behind Justin Houston’s $52 million. His annual salary will be the fifth highest among linebackers of any kind.
If there’s any question of whether or not David is worth all this money, the answer is a resounding yes. No matter the situation, David has been making big plays for the Bucs. He forced four fumbles last year and two more in 2013 while picking off five passes.
Turnovers are obviously extremely important and David has proven he can make them happen. David has also been one of the league’s best tacklers over his first three seasons, consistently finishing in the top-10 in total tackles.
In the end, this deal really works out for both the Bucs and David. He is being compensated like the All-Pro player that he is, but not in a way that will hurt the Bucs down the road. The team should actually be glad a player as dominating as David isn’t commanding even more money. There is no doubt David will live up to and probably exceed expectations in 2015. Hopefully he’ll finally get that Pro Bowl he deserves, too.
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