Jason Licht seemingly drops a massive hint about Devin White's future with Bucs

It's not what he said about the former Pro Bowler, it's what he didn't say.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Carolina Panthers
Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Carolina Panthers / Jared C. Tilton/GettyImages

Tampa Bay Buccaneers brass is in Indianapolis this week, but scouting the team's next draft class isn't the only thing they're doing. All eyes are on free agency, which will begin in a few weeks and might feature several key players.

We all know who is at the top of the list, as deals for Antoine Winfield Jr., Baker Mayfield, and Mike Evans are priorities that need to be taken care of. It seems that, despite how much outside noise there might be, that the Bucs will find a way to bring them back next season.

The list of new deals extends beyond those three, though.

Jason Licht spoke to the media on Tuesday and mentioned Lavonte David, Chase Edmonds, and Tristan Wirfs as players he'd throw a parade over being able to re-sign (in addition to the Big Three). One free agent is notably missing from that list, and it has us all wondering how much to read into the exclusion.

Did Jason Licht drop a hint that Devin White's time with the Bucs is over?

As Matt Matera over at Pewter Report also points out, Licht rattled off a bunch of names at all levels of the roster, but Devin White was not on his list.

“We’ve started talks with Baker. We’ve started with Mike, Antoine, Tristan, Lavonte. I think they’re going well,” Licht said on Tuesday.

It's no secret that White was on thin ice this season, a position he put himself in by requesting a trade last offseason after contract talks broke down. White eventually walked back his request to the point of apologizing for it -- something prompted by Lavonte David's leadership -- but the damage was done.

White's play during the season didn't help matters at all.

He showed flashes but for the most part was an afterthought on defense. Things got so bad that he was benched and lost his starting role to K.J. Britt, a situation that got so messy an NFL investigation was launched into how it was handled.

White was ruled a surprise inactive before Week 15's win over the Packers, which might go down as his last notable moment in Tampa Bay. He was a rotational player after that and while Todd Bowles has endorsed him coming back it seems as though the former Pro Bowler will test free agency.

This doesn't mean his time with the Bucs is over. A team like Dallas, Baltimore, or Chicago could give him another shot but he's not going to hear numbers anywhere close to what he was demanding last offseason. His best path forward might be to humbly return to a familiar place and try again at getting back to an All-Pro level.

One thing is abundantly clear: last offseason White might have held some cards but all of the leverage belongs to Tampa Bay and its front office knows it.

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