Raiders Could Reunite All-Pro Defender With Assistant Coach, per Analyst

devin white

Getty Tampa Bay Buccaneers LB Devin White.

There’s a strong defensive movement happening with the Las Vegas Raiders right now after the hiring of Antonio Pierce as head coach. The team’s last two head coaches had offensive backgrounds so giving Pierce the job represents a change in philosophy.

The team hasn’t been big spenders on defense for years but things could be different this offseason. The Raiders are armed with $47.8 million in salary cap space this offseason, per Spotrac, so they’ll have plenty of money to upgrade the defense.

One player to watch is Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Devin White. Kristopher Knox of Bleacher Report listed the Raiders as one of the top fits for the former All-Pro.

“The Las Vegas Raiders, meanwhile, are in the early stages of a rebuild,” Knox wrote in a March 4 column. “However, their defense played like a borderline elite unit down the stretch under then-interim head coach Antonio Pierce.

“The Raiders could use help at linebacker, and they could reunite White with linebackers coach Mike Caldwell, who was Tampa’s inside linebackers coach for the first three years of White’s career.”

Notably, White was one of the players the Raiders passed on in 2019 when they selected defensive end Clelin Ferrell with the No. 4 pick. White has been a bigger impact player and the team could now have the chance to fix their mistake.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Not Bringing Back Devin White

If the Raiders are circling Devin White as a free agent they want to target, it appears they won’t face competition from his former team. According to The Athletic’s Dan Pompei, the Buccaneers are likely to look at other options this offseason.

“The one free-agent-to-be who appears to be gone is linebacker Devin White,” Pompei wrote in a March 4 column. “The Bucs apparently are not negotiating to keep White in Tampa.”

White made a trade request last offseason that the Buccaneers didn’t grant but it looks like the team isn’t keen on seeing him stay in Tampa Bay. That’s not always a great sign of a player’s value. White was a top-five draft pick who won a Super Bowl and has made a Pro Bowl. Despite all of that, the Buccaneers aren’t putting up much of a fight to keep him. That’s something that could hurt White’s value on the open market.

Do Las Vegas Raiders Need to Spend on an LB?

Devin White is only 26 and has shown flashes of being an elite linebacker in his career. If his price isn’t very high, the Raiders should at least consider him. It’s unlikely he’s the player who’s going to come close to resetting the market at linebacker.

The Raiders may also not have much of a need at linebacker. Robert Spillane was a revelation for the team last season. He led the defense with 148 tackles to go with 3.5 sacks and three interceptions. He was a big playmaker in 2023 and should be one of the building blocks for the defense.

Divine Deablo has played well when he can stay healthy and he finished with 106 tackles in 2023. The Raiders run a lot of sets with just two linebackers so adding somebody like White would likely drop Deablo to the No. 3 linebacker spot. That said, there’s no guarantee White would be a big enough upgrade to justify the big contract he’s likely to demand.

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