Entering the final year of his rookie contract, Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Devin White has requested a trade, according to Jenna Laine of ESPN. While the Bucs don’t want to trade White, they could theoretically move him if they find an attractive offer from another team. Where are White’s best landing spots around the NFL?
Top Landing Spots for Devin White
White is scheduled to earn $11.706 million under his fifth-year option in 2023 before hitting the open market next season. If Tampa Bay hasn’t expressed a willingness to extend his contract, White — the fifth overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft — may believe he needs to move to another team to find the deal he’s looking for.
Whether a rival club would have an interest in acquiring and extending White is something of an open question. Despite his draft billing, White hasn’t been very impressive in the NFL ranks. He’s consistently struggled in coverage, and his 14% missed-tackle rate ranked as the 10th worst among linebackers in 2022.
White was deployed as a pass rusher (153 snaps) more often than any other off-ball linebacker last season. That’s a role where he’s experienced success and can make an impact, but it doesn’t make up for his other deficiencies, which would become even more glaring if he’s not lining up next to All-Pro Bucs linebacker Lavonte David.
Linebacker Tremaine Edmunds secured the bag with the Bears this offseason, but he had posted a much better track record than White and took a significant leap in 2022.
White, meanwhile, would have to make a similar improvement next season to come anywhere near the $18 million that Edmunds landed from Chicago. A deal similar to Bobby Okereke’s four-year, $40 million contract with the Giants seems more reasonable for White.
Let’s run through a few teams that could consider trading for White in the coming days and weeks.
Sean McDermott has always built defenses around strong linebacker play, and the Bills’ unit has been no different. Edmunds and Matt Milano roamed the middle of the field together in Buffalo for the last four years, but with Edmunds gone, the Bills need a replacement.
Buffalo seemingly prepared for Edmunds’ departure by drafting Terrel Bernard in the third round of the 2022 NFL Draft. However, Bernard played just 110 defensive snaps as a rookie, so he might not be prepared to step into a starting role.
The Bills could take a one-year flier on White, who could compete for a job with Bernard. It’s hard to imagine Buffalo extending White, given their future salary cap concerns, but he could offer a single-season boost to a team with Super Bowl aspirations.
Las Vegas Raiders
Linebacker has been a sore spot for the Raiders for years, and after losing Denzel Perryman and Jayon Brown — each of whom played at least 35% of the club’s snaps a season ago — they need help. While Las Vegas signed Robert Spillane this offseason, he projects as a risky starter after playing primarily on special teams for the Steelers.
White might represent an upgrade over Spillane, and the Raiders may actually consider giving the former first-rounder a new contract, especially given how many issues they’ve had at linebacker. This fit may hinge on how Josh McDaniels and Dave Ziegler graded White when he came out of LSU in 2019.
New York Giants
Okereke gives the Giants a viable starting linebacker, something they didn’t have in 2022. But Jarrad Davis, who has bounced on and off practice-squad rosters over the past few seasons, still projects as a starter for New York, so they clearly need more bodies.
No defensive coordinator blitzed more than the Giants’ Wink Martindale (39.7%) last season. I’d be very curious to see if Martindale could harness White’s pass-rushing acumen and help him become a better version of the player he’s become in the NFL.
The Titans lost David Long Jr. to the Dolphins in free agency, while Zach Cunningham and Dylan Cole are also absent from the team’s linebacking depth chart. Former 49ers LB Azeez Al-Shaair followed general manager Ran Carthon to Tennessee, but the Titans could add another ‘backer to compete with 2021 third-rounder Monty Rice.
Tennessee is trying to balance a rebuild with staying competitive in the AFC South, but there’s a chance the Titans will be among the worst teams in football next season. As such, they might not be the best candidate to add an expensive player like White at a non-premium position. However, Tennessee may also be willing to take shots on players with remaining upside.