Devin White, LB
- UFA in 2024
- Playing on fifth year of rookie contract
- Due a $100M+ extension
This is perhaps the biggest wild card of the Buccaneers future, as it's believable that the Devin White drama plays out either of the ways it looks like it might.
White wants to get paid, and paid well, for being one of the best young linebackers in the league. He's not the best young linebacker though, which works against his demands of what is reportedly upwards of $100 million. Roquan Smith got paid in that neighborhood by the Baltimore Ravens and seemingly set the market for other top players at the position.
When he's playing to his talents he very well could be the best linebacker in the NFL but he hasn't consistently been great for the Bucs which is a major reason the team is likely hesitant to fork over the kind of cash he wants. There's also the question of how important it is for the team to tie up big-time future dollars in White and potentially prevent moves elsewhere on the roster at more impactful positions.
Bill Barnwell over at ESPN wrote that he thinks the two sides will eventually find a middle ground and continue the relationship. For as easy as it is to throw our hands in the air after hearing White's trade request, his frustration seems to be with not getting the kind of contract he wants and not that he doesn't want to play for the Buccaneers. While the idea of paying him over $100 million is not what the team wants to do, Tampa Bay would be foolish to not want to keep White and have him take over the defensive leadership role that Lavonte David has now.
It's unlikely that he gets traded, but it's not outside the realm of possibility that he plays the season out and leaves in free agency next offseason. He'd be way too expensive to franchise tag, and trading him before then goes against the Bucs plans to be competitive. Perhaps the most likely outcome is White improves with the Bucs, who are competitive but not enough for it to matter, and he cashes in somewhere else in 2024.