Lavonte David or a rookie linebacker?
One of Tampa Bay’s most stalwart pieces, through the thick and thin of the past decade, has been
Lavonte David. Consistently one of the most unheralded excellent players in all of football, he
nevertheless continued turning in Pro Bowl-caliber seasons with the woebegone Buccaneers of the 2010s.
But in the last few years he has been able to finally be a part of a team that rises to his level and has reached the top of a mountain he has surely thought out of reach for the better part of the last decade. Now he hits free agency at the age of 33, clearly mulling over his next move. Again, this decision will not be made by the Buccaneers. Lavonte David is still playing at an elite level, and he would be unanimously welcomed back to the locker room with a new contract if he chooses to return. But if he decides to move on, the Buccaneers need a replacement.
With Pick 19 in the draft, there is plenty of opportunity to grab a promising young linebacker to learn from the veteran talent of Devin White, and the defensive mind of Todd Bowles.
Verdict: Lavonte David
Despite the justified worries from Buccaneers fans, it is still more likely that Lavonte David returns than retires. He is still playing at a tremendous level, and his passion for the game and the team is
unquestionable. The Buccaneers should open the checkbook for him, and he should return.
Don’t be surprised if the Bucs draft a linebacker regardless, however. There would be nobody better in all of football to mentor a young player than Lavonte David, and it will be important to have a replacement ready when the time does finally come for LVD to hang up his cleats.