Football is a constant game of “will they or won’t they”, meaning nothing is guaranteed or consistent. But that’s not the case for the Bucs and Devin White.
White has been a solid player through his first two years in the league. That’s good for him because his third year is a very important one. The Bucs will have to decide whether or not they want to approve White’s fifth-year option after the 2021 season. Therefore, 2021 needs to be another solid year for the former LSU Tiger.
Or does it?
Don’t get me wrong: Of course Bucs fans and White himself want a good year in 2021. But at this point, it’s safe to say that White is a lock for his fifth-year option. Unless something horrifically tragic happens.
This is because White is a key cog on the Buccaneers defense. But he’s also produced some big-time numbers on the field. Per Pro Football Reference, the third-year linebacker has the second-most sacks among all inside linebackers in the NFL (11.5) since 2019.
White’s 140 combined tackles were the sixth-most in the NFL last year. His 231 combined tackles over two years are good for 13th-best, but he averages around 8.3 tackles per game, which is good for eighth-best and is better than names like Fred Warner, Demario Davis, and White’s PIC, Lavonte David. He also averages around 5.5 solo tackles per game, which is good for fifth-best among all linebackers since 2019.
He has the fifth-most TFLs (19) among inside linebackers, but the funny part about that number is it’s the same amount of TFLs that Khalil Mack has over the last two years. But in four less games.
White has shown himself to be a versatile piece that can rush the passer, play the run, drop back in coverage (to an extent), and he can lead the team. His skillset is one of the rarest at his position and is something that could make him the best at his position. The Bucs have seen what he is capable of up close. They know what kind of player they have.
We saw the Buccaneers approve Vita Vea‘s fifth-year option earlier this year. Like White, Vea has a tremendous impact on the defense. But Vea missed 11 games in 2020. One would think that when considering the impact both players provide as well as the production, the Buccaneers will keep White around for the entirety of his rookie contract. Especially since he hasn’t missed a large chunk of playing time like Vea.
It’s going to be fun to see what Year Three holds for the Bucs and White. Who knows, maybe there will be a “Devin White’s Contract Extension Is A Lock” article coming out soon.
I can think of a lot of people who would love to see that.