The Buccaneers Need to Address The LB Position This Offseason


The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will probably have another quiet offseason. On paper, they have a lot of money. But in reality, they will need to re-sign a lot of top tier in-house free agents. And I think a concern that has gone somewhat unnoticed is the linebacker position. Devin White seems as good as gone, but many haven’t considered what happens if Lavonte David doesn’t come back.

Probably because it will make everyone cry, so apologies for that. But I think he is either coming back or retiring. And at 34, I don’t think you can discount the possibility that he will hang it up. He already has a ring and has been one of the best (despite no one noticing) at his position. David doesn’t have a lot left to prove. So, the Bucs are potentially losing both starting LB. K.J. Britt was fine filling in for White, but that still leaves at least one hole.

Considering the inexperience behind those two, I think FA would be the place to go to help fill the void. There are a lot of good and fairly cheap options out there. One such option is Josey Jewell. He had 108 tackles in 2023, 3 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, and 3 fumble recoveries. Not exactly Earth-shattering numbers, but still solid. Despite his good play and the fact that he probably won’t command big money, I don’t think the Broncos will retain him. All signs point to a Russel Wilson cut, costing them significant dead money. I think they want him back, but I don’t think they can afford it. He is 29, so not that much younger than David. However, he has been proven to be a solid piece that hasn’t missed too many games. Like I said, a good option if both LBs depart.

Another guy that is on or below the level of Jewell is Willie Gay Jr. It may seem strange for the Chiefs to let go of a guy on defense considering that was the reason they made and won the Superbowl, but Gay himself has tweeted that he may not remain the next season.

Granted, this came in January before the SB win, so things may have changed. He put up similar numbers that Jewell did, except for a lack of tackles (only 58). One sack, one forced fumble, three fumble recoveries, and an interception. Again, good not great.

I want to make it very clear. Losing Lavonte David would be absolutely devastating to the team. You can’t expect to replace the best LB with role-players. However, they can serve to help transition to a guy in the draft. A lot of people have been mocking Jeremiah Trotter Jr to the team, and I think he would be very good. But I also think he could be better developing under a veteran. I don’t like just throwing rookies right into the fire. There are exceptions. I think WRs and RBs can start right away and be impactful. But ILBs are basically the QBs of defense. I want to give whoever the Bucs draft time in the oven or else it may be raw.

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