The Tampa Bay Buccaneers may be awarding a massive payday to star linebacker Devin White. ESPN’s Brad Spielberger offered his contract projections for the top players from the 2019 NFL draft and predicts White will sign a five-year, $105 million new deal.
The ESPN projections also have White earning $55 million in guaranteed money as part of the contract extension. White is currently under contract with the Bucs for the next two seasons with a $965,000 salary in 2022 and a bump up to $11.7 million for 2023. Regardless of the final numbers, White is due for a sizable raise from his four-year, $29 million rookie deal.
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White Still Has 2 Years Remaining on His Current Contract
White’s two remaining contract years gives the Buccaneers some breathing room on the timing of the extension, and has Spielberger speculating that Tampa Bay could wait until next offseason to make it happen. White’s potential new deal points to some of the salary cap issues the Buccaneers could face in the post-Tom Brady era. The Bucs opted to utilize void years for several contracts which means the team may be paying for players longer than they are even on the roster.
“This extension may have to wait until the 2023 offseason as Tampa Bay goes all-in on another Super Bowl quest with Tom Brady,” Spielberger explained on May 25, 2022. “But the Buccaneers have shown a willingness to get extensions done early with players like interior defender Vita Vea. With Chicago Bears linebacker Roquan Smith potentially set to become the first off-ball linebacker to eclipse the $20 million per year mark later this offseason, the Buccaneers could once again lock in a franchise cornerstone early.
“…White does over-pursue, miss the occasional tackle and has struggled in coverage for stretches of his career, but the Buccaneers seem optimistic they can clean up the holes in his game — especially while working alongside one of the best coverage linebackers of this decade in Lavonte David.
“White will be just 24 years old for the entirety of his fourth NFL season in 2022 — younger than a handful of players in this year’s draft class — so there’s a lot of room for improvement. That is a scary thought considering the difference-maker he already is through his first three years in the league.”
White: ‘It’s Super Bowl or Nothing’
For his part, White does not seem worried about his future contract as the linebacker emphasized that it is “Super Bowl or nothing” for 2022. With Brady potentially entering his final season in Tampa, the Buccaneers appear to have a sense of urgency this offseason. White admitted that is took some time to move on from the team’s last-minute loss to the Rams in the postseason.
“But at the end, we was just one missed opportunity [vs. Rams],” White explained during a May 25 press conference. “Obviously, can’t dwell on it, but it’s fuel to the fire for this year, because right now, it’s Super Bowl or nothing and we know that. And I’ll say it in front of all the cameras, that’s the only goal, like that’s what we want and that’s what we after. And then, we know we’re not there yet, because it’s a long season, a long way to go, but that’s what we’re fighting for.”