Will a Devin White trade happen this offseason? ESPN has a surprising prediction for how the whole saga will ultimately play out for the Buccaneers.
Have you ever been sitting around doing something and randomly remember something that you needed to do? That’s the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Devin White trade request, which seems like a distant memory given all that has happened since, but remains a pretty significant thing the team needs to deal with this offseason.
White requested a trade right before the NFL Draft in April, which at the time seemed like a very intentional decision. The idea may have been that the Bucs would be pressured to trade him now and recoup max value in draft capital, but Jason Licht quickly threw water on the idea of the team trading its Pro Bowl linebacker.
“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 after White’s trade request. “We’re looking forward to him being a part of this team.”
Rather than spurring the Bucs to trade him, White’s request was lost in the frenzy of the NFL Draft but that doesn’t mean it has gone away. White and the Bucs remain far apart on contract talks which creates a ton of uncertainty about his future beyond the final year he’s under contract in Tampa Bay.
Buccaneers Rumors: ESPN predicts what will happen to Devin White
Just because we don’t have an actual answer to the question of what Devin White’s future holds doesn’t mean folks aren’t trying to find one. In a column predicting post-draft moves for each team, Bill Barnwell described the White saga as the biggest domino yet to fall in Tampa Bay and had a rather surprising way for it to all play out.
Rather than trading White, or having the Pro Bowler leave next offseason in free agency, Barnwell thinks the two sides will eventually get a deal done.
"The most likely scenario is that the two sides will come together and find common ground on a new deal, especially if White plays well early in 2023. If the Buccaneers collapse and think White’s going to leave in free agency, though, he could end up being offered for trades before the midseason deadline."
This option has always been on the table, even if it’s not the first one fans look at after a player requests a trade. Just because White asked to be traded doesn’t mean he will be — something Licht made very clear when addressing the situation.
Right now it doesn’t make a lot of sense for the Bucs to move on a deal with White. Not only does the team have little money to spend, but the market for linebackers might fluctuate between now and the end of the season.
It’s also easy to misconstrue a trade request as a player not liking the team he plays for anymore. White wants to get paid what he thinks he’s owed, and if the Bucs aren’t going to pay him than he wants to find a team that will. This is not a situation unique to Tampa Bay, and overlooking this creates a false narrative that bridges have been burned.
White isn’t the first Bucs player fans have assumed would be a goner only to have him return. Jamel Dean was the top cornerback in free agency this year yet he returned to the Bucs at a discount. Lavonte David also turned down potentially better circumstances to return to Tampa Bay, which means there’s no saying White won’t end up doing a similar thing.
Maybe White ends up with another team next season, or perhaps he is traded before the deadline in November. All options remain on the table, including White and the Bucs finding a middle ground and continuing their relationship beyond this season.