Licht confirmed that the Bucs have “no intention” to trade White despite the recent rumors reported by ESPN’s Jenna Laine. White has a year remaining on his rookie contract with the Bucs after four mostly impressive seasons.
“Yeah, well, first of all, we all have all the respect in the world for Devin has done some great things for us as a player and we look forward to more from him in the future,” Licht told reporters on Thursday, April 13. “So He’s on our team.”
White notably shared a few Instagram posts that sounded reflective of his time with Tampa, but White downplayed that last month. Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times previously reported the Bucs plans to keep White.
Devin White’s Case is Unique, Jason Licht Says
Licht noted that “every case” is unique and that he doesn’t have anything against White regarding the reported trade request.
White has been under the microscope since October 2022 when he took heat after a loss to the Baltimore Ravens where he got accused of not playing hard by former Bucs great Warren Sapp. Bucs head coach Todd Bowles didn’t dismiss that White could play better, but Bowles backed White overall last season and during the offseason. Bowles offered high praise for White’s capabilities during the NFL Combine in February.
The Bucs’ No. 5 pick in the 2019 NFL draft, White shined early as a full-time starter and continued stellar play throughout much of his first four seasons. That included a monster game against the New Orleans Saints in the NFC Divisional Round in the 2020 season where he had a fumble recovery and an interception.
White has 20.5 career sacks plus nine fumble recoveries, six forced fumbles, 483 tackles, and an interception. Replacing such output poses a challenge for any team, and the Bucs don’t have great depth after White at left inside linebacker. Ulysees Gilbert III and J.J. Russell sit at second and third on the present depth chart.
If the Bucs don’t trade White, he will become a free agent in 2024 and command up to $20.1 million annually according to Spotrac. White will make $11.7 million this year for the Bucs, and a trade could save the team all $11.7 million against the salary cap, per Spotrac.
Bucs Don’t Really Mean ‘No Intention’, NFL Insider Says
Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio doesn’t buy the Bucs’ public plans with White.
“The Buccaneers have ‘zero intention’ to trade, which is usually a precursor to a trade,” Florio said on Pro Football Talk.
Florio added that means “make us an offer we won’t refuse”, and co-host Chris Simms interjected that it resembles the Roquan Smith trade last year. The Chicago Bears traded Smith in October 2022 to the Ravens amid a contract dispute. Florio noted that White apparently isn’t satisfied with contract talks in Tampa.
“Now, he wants out. That’s what he really wants,” Florio said.
Both Florio and Simms noted that White’s physical playing style creates urgency for him to land a massive contract.
“Like a running back, he’s in a car-crash business,” Simms said. “I understand him wanting money and wanting that security right now.”