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Devin White Trade Rumor Updates: Analysis, And What To Expect Now.

As you’ve no doubt heard by now, one of the league’s best linebackers, Devin White, has officially requested a trade out of Tampa Bay. The internet is abuzz with rumors and predictions on how this going to play out, and almost everyone has something different to say on the matter.

It’s very strange to encounter such varying opinions on a player whom I always presumed to be a top-ten linebacker in today’s league. Yes, there are a fair amount of people endorsing White as a competent player, some even go as far as to consider him the best Middle Linebacker in the NFL.

Others however are quick to point out his flaws as a player, such as his uninspiring 13.1% missed tackle percentage up to this point in his career. He’s also been notably lackluster when it comes to passing defense, allowing a 106.9 passer rating whilst in coverage.

Other than those two flaws and a couple of criticisms thrown his way by an enthusiastically unimpressed Warren Sapp during last season, its hard to really buy into the argument that he’s not good enough to get the money he’s after.

However, It’s just as difficult to buy into him actually deserving to be the top-paid linebacker in the NFL.

In A Nutshell

Devin White wants out because the Buccaneers aren’t planning to renegotiate his contract until after he plays out the final year of his current rookie contract. He’s quoted as being “fed up” and “very unhappy in his current situation” and an ESPN source claims the reason why White is upset is solely over how contract negotiations have gone thus far.

White is slated to earn $11.7 Million this year on the fifth and final year of his rookie contract, and he’s reportedly seeking somewhere around $20 million a year on a new contract. He is quoted on record as stating that he was seeking to become the highest-paid linebacker in the NFL.

Comparably, Baltimore Raven’s Linebacker Roquan Smith’s contract (the current highest-paid NFL linebacker) is exactly $20 million a year, totaling $100 million over five years. The Ravens also had to pony up a second and a fifth-round draft pick in the trade that sent Smith from Chicago to Baltimore.

Roquan Smith is a top-10 backer for sure, but the Ravens may have overpaid slightly, and as a result of his inflated contract, it’s become increasingly difficult to accurately gauge the linebacker market. Enter Devin White, who some people consider a top-10 guy also… But not everyone. In fact, Pro Football Focus rated him the 74th-best linebacker out of 81 players in 2022 and 79th-best out of 86 in 2021. … That’s not exactly a beaming endorsement from PFF.

On the other hand, another analytics website market value tool estimates that he’s worth an average annual value (AAV) of $20.1 million if he were to sign a new contract today. But nobody really knows what’s going on behind the scenes concerning the inner workings of any of these analytic websites. Any answer that comes from an algorithm can almost immediately be deemed arbitrary and should almost always carry less impact. I.E. He’s definitely not the 74th worst backer in the league, but he’s also definitely not worth an AAV of $20.1 million.

Tampa Stay

Devin White certainly believes that he is worth $20 million a year, and after negotiations with the Bucs Brass concerning a new contract stalled out, he requested a trade almost immediately. The Buccaneers in response (Per ESPN’s Adam Schefter) issued a statement that they are adamant that they don’t want to trade him, and are almost certainly NOT going to be trading him.

Head Coach Todd Bowles is and has always been enamored with Devin White, beaming praise in his direction at every possible opportunity. The Bucs org really wants to keep Devin White, but they’re playing things smart, safe, and moderate for now. The Buccaneer’s original plan (and the option that’s best for them) was probably to pick up White’s fifth-year extension and monitor his performance this year carefully to see if he’s actually worth the top-dollar contract he’s been seeking.

It seems pretty clear and obvious Devin White is not going to get what he wants from the Buccaneers this year. He needs to step back and realize that, and he likely will soon if he hasn’t already.

So, What Happens Next?

The most probable outcome for this entire scenario is that Devin White plays out the fifth year of his rookie contract and presumeably secures himself the raise he’s been seeking NEXT YEAR, so long as he manages to play at a high level and avoid injury.

The second most likely outcome is that the Buccaneers decide to comply with White’s request and work out a new contract for him this year. This route would seemingly also give Tampa Bay a little bit of much-needed room to work their salary cap around, by spreading his contract out over multiple seasons.

The third and least likely outcome is that Devin White finds the suitor he’s been looking for, and whatever team that happens to be, manages to export him from Tampa with what would have to be an attractive (and inflated) offer. In reality, it is highly unlikely that any team is going to make Devin White the league’s highest-paid linebacker at this time, especially if they also presumably have to sweeten the pot with a draft pick or two.

Obviously in the NFL, a player as talented as Devin White is going to cause all other teams to do their due diligence and kick the tires a little, as far as a trade is concerned.

White would make a great fit on almost every team in the league given his caliber of play and it wouldn’t be the most surprising thing that ever happened if somebody decides he’s worth overpaying for and he actually ends up getting traded.

If any team is going to pull the trigger on a trade, the most probable candidate is the Philadelphia Eagles. They currently roster linebackers Nakobe Dean and Nicholas Morrow, and whilst these players are decent, White would almost certainly provide an upgrade at the position. Plus if anyone can get this deal done and have it make sense, it’s Howie Roseman.

White also hinted on Twitter a few weeks back that he was interested in joining the Eagles, after replying “Let’s make it happen” to a tweet posted by new Eagles CB Greedy Williams.

Final Thoughts

This isn’t the last we’ll hear of this story obviously, it will be a top-billed story until its conclusion, but in all actuality, I think we should all expect Devin White to remain a Buccaneer this season.

If he does stay with the Bucs, it also consequentially means that every article on every website about this story was a complete waste of time for everyone. Once Devin White’s back on the field with Tampa Bay, it will be like none of this ever happened.

So, thanks to you Devin White, for wasting everyone’s time and alienating most of your fanbase. Regardless of what happens, I know one thing for certain, which is: Devin White will get his trade… only… it will be in the form of me trading him off of my 32-Team IDP Dynasty Fantasy Football League.

I’m not expecting a significant haul in return.

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