The Buccaneers took a shot on Devin White early in the first round a few years ago, and while the results have been decent, the path forward is murky.
Not that this is unusual, but the Buccaneers fanbase is heavily divided on a topic.
Who could’ve seen this coming? Sigh.
The current topic of debate has fixated on fifth-year linebacker Devin White. White has been a fan-favorite since his arrival in Tampa due to his bubbly demeanor and his quick style of play, but there have been question marks in his game from day one, and the divide between what White was doing versus how he was doing it has created a chasm on the topic.
White, like every other off-ball linebacker, is not defined by tackles, sacks, Pro Bowls, PFF grades, or individual accolades outside of All-Pro awards. Despite this, people use every one of these to prove different points.
Based on his tackles and sack numbers, some fans think White is one of the best players in the league. When you add in a Second-team All-Pro, Pro Bowl, a Super Bowl ring, and a Defensive Player of the Month selection to start the 2022 season, many see White the player as completely unimpeachable.
On the other end, White consistently grades out as one of the worst linebackers in the sport year-in and year-out according to PFF.com (38.2 in 2022).
This dichotomy exists because, while White is able to get so many tackles, sacks, and other eye-popping stats, there are also missed tackles, blown coverages, out of position stretches, and even some plays that appear to lack the most basic effort.
When it’s all said and done, games like last night tend to show the latter more than anything. White struggled for most of the contest, much like he has for the last few weeks, and performances like that from one of your defensive captains can’t happen.
The Bucs are in a bind, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t have a simple decision. Devin White just isn’t worth the major contract that he can probably get on the open market.
Similar to Kwon Alexander, another team out there is going to fall in love with the traits and personality, but the Bucs just can’t afford to maintain this relationship with so many other needs on both sides of the ball and with so much money already tied up.
A split with Devin White will hurt in the short term, but this move is becoming more obvious as the best choice for both sides by the day.
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