Tampa Bay hit the jackpot in the second round of the 2012 draft with the selection of Lavonte David. The outside linebacker out of Nebraska has amassed over 1000 tackles since joining the team and does not appear to be slowing down.
– Games: 121
– Total Tackles: 1005 (leads team since 2012)
– Tackles for loss: 115
– Sacks: 21.5
– Interceptions: 11
– Passes Defended: 46
– Forced Fumbles: 21
– Fumble Recoveries: 14
– Touchdowns: 3
In 2015, David signed a five-year extension with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers worth $50.25 million. This contract expires after the 2020 season, where David is inked to make $10.75 million. So, what will the Buccaneers do?
Option 1: Extending Lavonte David
Even at 30 years old, David is a premier outside linebacker in this league. While he is criminally underrated, the entire NFL knows they need to prepare for number 54 when they play Tampa Bay. The nice thing about David’s age is that he won’t be much more expensive than he already is. I fully expect David to be re-signed to a multi-year extension at right around $10 million per year, and I expect it to get taken care of before the free agency period hits.
Option 2: Let David Walk
Tampa Bay disappointed many fans last season by cutting Gerald McCoy shortly after head coach Bruce Arians took over. However, I don’t see them doing the same thing with David. The difference between McCoy and David is consistency, as well as McCoy being owed $13 million per year. Over his eight-year career, the fewest games Lavonte David has played in one season is 13. He has played in all 16 games in five of his eight seasons. He also tends to show up when games are on the line and never takes any plays off. If Tampa were to go this route, I don’t foresee many fans or teammates agreeing with the move.
Option 3: Franchise Tag after 2020
Of the three options, the franchise tag is least-likely to happen in my opinion. In 2019, the franchise tag for linebackers was set at $15,443,000, which would most likely be way more than Tampa Bay is willing to pay. David will be 31 next off-season, so he probably wouldn’t like the idea of playing under the franchise tag either. David likely wants to stay in a Tampa Bay uniform, and the team has no reason to go another route, so expect to see David extended sooner rather than later.