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2024 Buccaneers Free Agent Focus: Devin White

LB Devin White, who leads all NFL off-ball linebackers in quarterback hits since he was drafted in 2019, is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent in March after finishing his initial five-year deal


A year ago the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were able to re-sign Lavonte David and keep one of the NFL's most productive off-ball linebacker duos intact. This time around, both David and Devin White are potentially headed for free agency, meaning change could be coming to the position after those two patrolled the middle of the field together for the last five seasons.

White arrived in Tampa in 2019 as the fifth-overall selection in the draft, the second-highest pick the franchise had ever used on a linebacker after taking Keith McCants in the fourth spot in 1990. He was an immediate starter as a rookie and a Pro Bowl selection by his third season. White was a playoff force in 2020 as the Bucs steamed toward the Super Bowl LV title, and a Pro Bowl selection for the first time in 2021.

In January of 2022, the Buccaneers signed Vita Vea, the 12th-overall pick in the 2018 draft, to a multi-year contract extension. That broke a bit of a mini-drought for the team, as Vea was the first first-round pick since Mike Evans (drafted in 2014) to sign a second contract with the team. Tristan Wirfs, taken 13th overall in 2020, seems likely to follow suit. Will White also be in that group?

Currently, White is one of 18 players from Tampa Bay's 2023 roster who could become unrestricted free agents on March 13, and it's not likely the team will be able to retain all of them for the 2024 season. Priorities on that list will be set and pursued. And so, in the weeks leading up to the start of the new league year, we are going to look at 10 players who are currently poised to become unrestricted free agents in mid-March. This is the full schedule of our 2024 Free Agent Focus rundown:

This list is subject to change based on potential roster moves in the coming weeks. However, we will continue today with one of the Bucs' defensive captains in each of the last four years.

Player: Devin White

Position: Linebacker

Age at the Start of the 2024 Season: 26

Experience: Entering sixth NFL season

How Acquired: Selected in the first round (#5 overall) of the 2019 NFL Draft.

Previous Contract(s): White signed the standard contract for first-round draft picks, a four-year deal that included a fifth-year team option. That option was exercised prior to the 2022 season and White completed that fifth season in 2023.

Rank in Pro Football Focus **Top 200 NFL Free Agents** for 2023: 73. PFF Comment: "White carries top-five-pick pedigree into free agency, which will always lead to a stronger market, and he's consistently one of the most productive pass rushers among off-ball linebackers, using his elite athleticism to explode into the backfield. White's issue at the NFL level has been biting on play action too frequently, freelancing at times and struggling in coverage generally."

2023 Performance: White finished third on the Bucs' defense with 83 tackles while also contributing 2.5 sacks, five tackles for loss, nine quarterback hits, two interceptions and six passes defensed. He tied for second on the team in both QB hits and interceptions.

White started the first 11 games of the season and played nearly 100% of the defensive snaps in those contests. However, a foot injury snapped his string of 45 consecutive games played and starts in December and he missed three contests. Upon his return to action, White began to cede some playing time, primarily in likely run situations, with K.J. Britt, who had started in his absence. White had a key interception in his first game back from injury to help the Buccaneers beat the Jaguars, 30-12.

In the postseason, White played 44% of the defensive snaps in a win over Philadelphia and 19% in a loss at Detroit. He contributed three tackles in those two contests.

Career Accomplishments: Overall, White has played in 76 regular season games, starting 75 of them, with another eight games and six starts in the playoffs. He has racked up 566 tackles and was the team leader in that category in 2020 and 2021, reaching a peak of 140 stops in 2020.

White has also proved to be a very effective pass rusher, recording 23.0 sacks in those five campaigns. In 2020 he finished with a career-high 9.0 sacks, becoming the only player in the NFL since 2012 to have at least nine sacks and 100 tackles in the same season. White's career totals also include three interceptions, 21 passes defensed, six forced fumbles, nine fumble recoveries (two returned for touchdowns), 40 tackles for loss and 64 quarterback hits.

Since 2000, White and Hall of Famer Brian Urlacher are the only two players in the NFL to amass 500-plus tackles, 20-plus sacks and 10-plus takeaways over the first five seasons. Since 2019, White leads all off-ball linebackers in quarterback hits and ranks second in sacks and fumble recoveries. In addition to his 2021 Pro Bowl nod, White was a second-team Associated Press All-Pro selection in 2020.

Other Potential Free Agent Linebackers: Lavonte David (Buccaneers), Frankie Luvu (Panthers), Patrick Queen (Ravens), Jordyn Brooks (Seahawks), Bobby Wagner (Seahawks), Azeez Al-Shaair (Titans), Josey Jewell (Broncos), Blake Cashman (Texans), Drue Tranquill (Chiefs), Jordan Hicks (Vikings), Willie Gay (Chiefs), Tyrel Dodson (Bills), Oren Burks (49ers), Nicholas Morrow (Eagles)

Top Off-Ball Linebacker Prospects in 2024 NFL Draft: Edgerrin Cooper (Texas A&M), Jeremiah Trotter Jr. (Clemson), Junior Colson (Michigan), Payton Wilson (North Carolina State), Marist Liufau (Notre Dame), J.D. Bertrand (Notre Dame), Cedric Gray (North Carolina), Michael Barrett (Michigan), Tommy Eichenberg (Ohio State), Edefuan Ulofoshio (Washington), Ty'Ron Hopper (Missouri), Nathaniel Watson (Mississippi State), Jackson Sirmon (California), Tyrice Knight (UTEP)

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