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Tampa Bay Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht doesn’t deny linebacker Devin White might be upset and might have requested to be traded. But it’s a moot point.
Licht says he’s not trading one of the team’s defensive captains.
“I have no intention,” Licht said succinctly on Thursday.
Instead Licht tried to send the message that White is valued and appreciated and wanted. Even if all that comes with limits. One limit is salary, as White is scheduled to get $11.7 million in 2023 under his fifth-year option rather than an extension.
“We all have all the respect in the world for Devin,” Licht said. “He’s done some great things for us as a player and we look forward to more from him in the future. He’s on our team.
Jason Licht Looks Forward With Devin White
“We are looking forward to the season, we’re gearing up for the season with the draft right now [and] free agency. [We’re] looking forward to him being a part of this team. If he has the kind of year that we all think he’s capable of, we can hopefully put this to rest and everybody is happy.”
Translation: The Buccaneers are likely done trying to negotiate an extension with White.
The club wants to see White perform on the field. If he plays to potential, he’s going to be well paid, either in an extension or in free agency next year.
And if that makes White unhappy?
“I can’t look into the future,” Licht said. “Like I said, we have the utmost respect for Devin. It’s part of the business of this job that we have. He’s a competitor, he’s a player, everybody holds him in high regard.”
Why Is Devin White Unhappy?
ESPN reported last week White is “fed up” with the pace and scope of his contract negotiations in Tampa.
The Bucs’ selected White fifth overall in the 2019 NFL draft. And White rewarded that move by becoming a starter and team leader.
But there were lapses last season. Some were pointed out by Hall of Famer and former Buccaneers defensive lineman Warren Sapp and echoed by Tom Brady.
So now White has to continue to prove himself on the fifth-year option of his rookie deal. He also must accept the possibility the Bucs draft another inside linebacker to go with him and Lavonte David.
“We’re never not looking at the middle linebackers or the inside linebackers,” Licht said. “There’s always some good players at every position in every draft. I wouldn’t say that [position] is a strength of this draft.
“But, yes, we’re always looking and if it’s at the right time, at the right place, the right fit we wouldn’t be afraid to take one, no.”