Among the offseason threads the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been monitoring, Devin White’s situation ranks near the top of the list.
White is in the final year of his rookie contract and wants to get paid like a top linebacker in the league. He reportedly is looking for a deal in the $100 million range, which is similar to what the Baltimore Ravens gave Roqoan Smith after acquiring him from the Chicago Bears last season.
After contract talks didn’t go anywhere this offseason, White requested a trade ahead of the NFL Draft in April. This came a month after some cryptic Instagram posts from White that certainly seemed like farewell messages to fans in Tampa Bay.
White walked those back, but soon after requested a trade which sent mixed messages to everyone watching. The next strategic move for White seemed to be skipping the Bucs mandatory minicamp this week, something that Todd Bowles reiterated the other week was something he expected to see all members of the team attend.
It was a message that seemed pointed at White, and created some mild anxiety as to how things might play out.
Devin White appears to end holdout with Buccaneers
In what appears to be the surest sign yet that White is ending his holdout, the linebacker actively participated in the Bucs photo session ahead of mandatory minicamp.
A sigh of relief, to say the least.
White was also present at minicamp, which is another positive sign that for now he’s all-in on being a productive member of the team. According to The Athletic’s Greg Auman, White wasn’t participating but was at least there.
It also highlights that this isn’t about the Buccaneers, per say. White requested a trade because he wants to get paid, not because he doesn’t want to play in Tampa Bay anymore. If the Bucs were to give him a new deal, which is still the most ideal outcome, there’s nothing to say White would reject it to use free agency as an escape from the organization.
That’s a key thing to remember.
Of course, this isn’t even close to being the end of the story. The idea that White would sit out the season always seemed weird, as his best move was always to play this season and hopefully have an incredible year.
That’s the best case scenario for the Bucs, too. If the team wants to be as competitive as the coaching staff seems to believe it will be, then having White in top form is a key part of the strategy. It’s mutually beneficial in that Tampa Bay gets a Pro Bowl-caliber season out of an important player and White strengthens his case for getting $100 million or more on his next contract.
We’ll see what happens down the road, but for now it seems that both sides have put their differences aside to try and do what’s best for the greater good of the team.