It sure sounds like Todd Bowles called out Devin White

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Cleveland Browns
Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Cleveland Browns / Nick Cammett/GettyImages

It’s been a long offseason for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers but it finally feels like things are starting to pick up. OTAs gave us our first look at some new additions like Baker Mayfield and allowed the team to start settling into the post-Tom Brady era.

Not everything is totally set, though, and there’s one notable loose thread that remains.

Pro Bowl linebacker Devin White requested a trade back in April after talks surrounding a contract extension broke down. It’s not that White doesn’t want to play for the Bucs, he just wants to get paid what he’s owed and the front office doesn’t want to meet his demands.

White is reportedly looking for a deal in the neighborhood of $100 million, which is along the lines of what the Baltimore Ravens gave Roqoun Smith. It doesn’t take a lot of squinting to see that White is a top linebacker in the league when he’s firing on all cylinders, but there’s more nuance to the situation than reducing it to that.

For starters, the Bucs are in a bind when it comes to money. The team took its medicine this offseason after spending to contend for a Super Bowl the last three seasons. Would the Bucs tie up future dollars in White the way it did over the last few seasons?

If that happened, the expectation would be that White would need to develop into the successor to Lavonte David’s reign as the defense’s leader. For as great as he is, there are questions about how realistic that is.

For now, the Cold War between the Bucs and White is dragging into the thick of the summer months which is something head coach Todd Bowles seems very aware of.

Todd Bowles sends stern message ahead of mandatory minicamp

Speaking with the media during OTAs, Bowles seemed to send a rather stern message not just to White but to all of his players. Bowles noted that the upcoming minicamp is mandatory and he expects to see every player under contract show up.

“It’s mandatory,” Bowles said. “I expect everybody to be here.”

While he’s obviously talking to everyone in the locker room, it’s hard to hear that and not think about White, who skipped OTAs and has yet to report to the team since requesting a trade. Bucs media members in the room were thinking the same thing, as Bowles as directly asked about White’s attendance this summer.

"It's mandatory. I expect everybody to be here," Bowles repeated.

Bowles is really doing two things with the treatment of the White situation. He’s not coddling a star player and is combating doubts that he can’t control the team. That was a criticism of Bowles in his first year as head coach, especially with the way the team performed in terms of boneheaded mistakes that should have been coached out during the season.

There’s a ton of pressure on Bowles to right the ship in his second year as head coach, and it’s clear he wants it known that his hands are on the reins. We’ll see what happens if White decides not to show up to minicamp, which will add some interesting drama to the summer.

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