Tampa Bay Buccaneers GM Jason Licht spoke about the recent trade request from star linebacker Devin White.
It’s been an offseason of twists and turns for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, with the latest coming as a surprise bummer for some.
Devin White requested a trade after contract talks reportedly stalled. It comes a few weeks after some cryptic Instagram posts seemed to hint that his time with the Bucs was coming to an end, although he tried to deflect that notion at the time.
As it turns out, there was something to the messages after all.
White is due for a new contract after next season as he wraps up the final year of his rookie deal. When he’s playing up to expectations he’s a Pro Bowl superstar linebacker and a key piece of a Super Bowl roster. However, his performance in 2022 was sharply criticized which has called into question whether he has a place in Tampa Bay moving forward.
Let’s nip this right now: Devin White absolutely belongs with the Bucs. He’s not worth blindly spending on, though, which is the conundrum the front office faces moving forward.
Buccaneers GM responds to Devin White trade request
Speaking to the media this week, Jason Licht addressed the recent trade request by White and set the record straight. Simply put, the Bucs aren’t going to honor the request and are planning on having White with the team next year.
“We all have all the respect in the world for Devin. He’s done some great things for us as a player and we look forward to more from him in the future,” Licht said. “We’re looking forward to him being a part of this team.”
White is still under contract, which only slightly complicates his desire to be traded. He could sit out next season, but the most likely situation is that he’ll spend at least the next years with the Bucs before going elsewhere.
There’s also the possibility that he remains in Tampa Bay for the long term. The point of his trade request was essentially a negotiation tactic to get the Bucs to meet his demands for a contract extension. White is entering the final year of his rookie contract, and the Bucs could place the franchise tag on him next season to extend the window for working out a deal.
Of course, that depends on a number of different factors not the least of which is the Bucs financial plan moving forward. White is expected to get a contract in the neighborhood of $100 million, and franchising him next year would be an expensive decision. This offseason the tag for linebackers was slightly north of $20 million, which is a price the Bucs probably won’t be interested in paying when there are other areas of the roster to address.