It sounds like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will have competition for Lavonte David in free agency, with an AFC team showing early interest.
Update: Lavonte David and the Buccaneers agreed to a deal on Wednesday that will keep him in Tampa Bay on a $7 million deal.
[Original story begins here]
To say that free agency got off to a stunning start for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers would be to undersell the whole thing.
It seemed as though the Bucs would be passengers this offseason, with little money to spend while staring into the abyss of what life after Tom Brady might look like. There’s nothing to say it won’t go well, but the immediate aftermath of his retirement truly felt like rock bottom.
That meant the only way to go was up, and Jason Licht was the guy to drag Bucs fans back into the light. Out of nowhere, the Buccaneers swooped in to re-sign cornerback Jamel Dean when it looked all but certain that he would be leaving. It was unexpected, to say the least, and has restored faith that other moves can be made this offseason that not many were expecting.
Mainly, it gave hope to the Bucs potentially bringing back Lavonte David as well.
David is expected to test free agency like Dean was, but it looks like he’s not as sure to return as his defensive teammate. With the tampering period open, a pretty solid competitor has entered the arena to challenge David’s return to Tampa Bay.
According to Bills reporter Ryan Talbot, Buffalo has made contact with David ahead of free agency beginning tomorrow.
Well, this sucks.
It sucks mostly because it makes a lot of sense for David to leave for Buffalo. He’d fit into one of the best defenses in the NFL, get paid more than what the Bucs will likely be able to offer, and have a better shot at winning a Super Bowl next season.
As much as it hurts, the knee-jerk reaction is that it’s pretty hard to argue against David joining the Bills.
That being said, David isn’t hitting free agency as a mercenary. He’s stated an interest in following the Ronde Barber path and retiring with the Bucs after having played his entire career here. Looking at the way Licht was able to find a win-win deal for Dean — who was expected to command a higher price on the open market — gives fans hope that a deal can get done to bring him back.
Is it false hope? Only time will tell, as Buffalo is a formidable opponent in the battle for David but it wouldn’t be the first time the Bucs went down to the wire with the Bills only to come out on top.