Giants Would Form ‘Scariest’ Duo With Blockbuster Trade

Devin White

Getty Images Buccaneers linebacker Devin White could be the final piece for a Giants defense on the upswing.

The New York Giants are one trade away from fielding an unstoppable duo of linebackers.

Pairing current Buccaneers Pro Bowler Devin White, who has asked for a trade, with offseason pickup Bobby Okereke would give defensive coordinator Wink Martindale “one of the scariest things an offense could face,” according to Fireside Giants’ Anthony Rivardo.

The Giants could field the dream duo — and cause opposing offenses nightmares — for the right price. 

White, a 2019 first-round pick, demanded a trade on April 11 over “frustrations” stemming from negotiations over a new contract, according to ESPN’s Jenna Laine. The Buccaneers don’t intent to trade him after picking up his fifth-year option worth $11.7 million, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Wanting to keep White and affording White are two separate issues, though. 

According to Laine, the Buccaneers entered free agency “more than $55 million over the salary cap” and parted with players like running back Leonard Fournette, tackle Donovan Smith, tight end Cam Brate and kicker Ryan Succop for cap relief. 

Tampa Bay also lost safety Mike Edwards and cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting, two members of the 2019 draft class, spearheaded by White, that helped win the 2021 Super Bowl. 

The Giants currently possess only $2.29 million in cap space, per OverTheCap. But adding a talent like White might be be worth the financial strain, according to writers like Rivardo and Big Blue View’s Rivka Boord.

“The Giants’ defense is structured with an attack mindset,” Boord wrote. “And it could be that White’s upside is worthwhile to Martindale.”

Here’s what else you need to know about White’s trade request and his potential fit in New York. 

Is Devin White a Fit With the Giants Defense?

White is a 25-year-old former Pro Bowler and All Pro with 62 career starts to his name.

His fit in Martindale’s pressure-heavy scheme is undeniable, too. 

New York topped the league by blitzing on nearly 40% of snaps, according to Pro Football Reference. The strength of White’s game? Getting after opposing quarterbacks.

“Few defenses ask an off-ball linebacker to rush more, as his 144 pass rushes in 2022 were second among off-ball linebackers,” Boord wrote. “Correspondingly, White had the most pressures among them with 32, as well as 5.5 sacks. Among 33 off-ball linebackers with at least 50 pass rushes, White’s 22.2% pressure rate ranked seventh.”

White thrives as a blitzer, Martindale loves to blitz. Paired with a better pass defender like Okereke, White might also be able to pass the 47.6 coverage grade he received from Pro Football Focus in 2022. 

Per Next Gen Stats, Okereke held up admirably as the most-targeted coverage linebacker in football last season. 

To summarize: Okereke’s strengths could complement White’s very well. The Giants, who haven’t had a Pro Bowl linebacker since Antonio Pierce in 2006, would suddenly have two if the Giants could trade for White. 

What Would Devin White Cost in a Giants Trade?

White doesn’t want a new home without a new contract. To even enter a trade conversation, general manager Joe Schoen would have to be willing to surrender assets and a big new deal.

Trade compensation would be steep. The Ravens paid a second- and fifth-round pick to acquire linebacker Roquan Smith from the Bears last season. Tampa Bay would “likely” look for a similar package in return, according to Boord. 

“If Tampa does choose to unload White, they’re not going to do it for pennies on the dollar,” Boord wrote. “Smith’s trade from Chicago to Baltimore for a second- and fifth-round pick will likely be Tampa’s comp, although White is not nearly the player that Smith is.”

Suppose a White trade cost the Giants the 59th and 209th overall picks in the second and sixth round, respectively. The two players picked at those spots last year were LSU guard Ed Engram and Virginia Tech offensive tackle Luke Tenuta — and neither is on White’s level. 

Wrote Boord: “If the cost was a second-round pick, though, is the known of White’s abilities more worthwhile than the unknown of the potential pick?”

It’s not as simple as that, however. New York would also need to pay White the long-term deal Laine and Schefter reported he’s not currently getting from Tampa Bay.

Spotrac lists White’s value at $20 million per year over four years — $10 million more per year over the same contract length as Okereke. That’d place him in the same contractual conversation as Smith and newly-signed Bears linebacker Tremaine Edmunds. 

Whether Big Blue should hamper its cap situation for a second star linebacker is up for debate. But there’s no arguing the type of addition White could be if he ever landed in New York. 

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