Todd Bowles has a stern, indirect message for Devin White

Bucs inside linebacker Devin White has yet to appear this offseason for voluntary workouts at the team’s AdventHealth Training Center. The big question is will he appear next week for Tampa Bay’s mandatory mini-camp or will the fifth-year linebacker be a no-show?

When asked if he expects White to be in the team’s mini-camp, Bucs head coach Todd Bowles delivered a simple and stern message directed at the linebacker without directly naming White.

“It’s mandatory — I expect everyone to be here,” Bowles said.

If White doesn’t show up next week, he could be fined under the NFL collective bargaining agreement. And then the question arises of whether White’s holdout will continue through training camp.

Devin White’s situation will be clarified next week

Bucs ILB Devin White – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

Devin White has stayed away from the off-season conditioning and OTAs as he protested his current contract situation. White requested a trade after the Bucs failed to renew his off-season contract. Tampa Bay wants White to play on his fifth-year option, which is worth $11.706 million, and the team will not trade him.

White, who was with the Bucs with the No. 5 overall pick in the 2019 Draft, may receive free agency after the 2023 season. He would then get a big second contract in the off-season. White wants to be a $100 million linebacker and all that an extension would likely lower his caphit for this season, Todd Bowles and the Bucs are waiting to decide if he’s worth such an investment.

White has shown signs of brilliance at various points in his career, playing a key role in the Bucs’ Super Bowl LV run. He recovered a fumble and intercepted Drew Brees in an NFC Divisional Round victory over the Saints and later intercepted Patrick Mahomes to keep the Chiefs out of the end zone in the Super Bowl, which Tampa Bay won 31–9.

White had some consistency issues during the 2021 season, though he earned his first Pro Bowl selection that season. Then in 2022, it was much more of a year of ups and downs for the fast linebacker, and he came under fire during the season for bad play. He struggled to get off blocks and made some costly mistakes, which hurt the Bucs defense. To his credit he improved his game and played better throughout the season.

Bucs added 2 promising rookie ILBs this offseason

Bucs Ilb Sirvosea Dennis Devin White

Bucs ILB SirVocea Dennis – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

Behind the scenes, the Bucs are giddy about the talent and promise of two rookie linebackers. The Bucs spent a fifth-round pick on SirVocea Dennis of Pittsburgh and signed Jeremy Banks of Tennessee as an undrafted free agent. Banks would have had a center round had it not been for an off-field incident that caused his draw stock to tumble.

One of those linebackers could replace veteran linebacker Lavonte David, who turns 34 in January, if he doesn’t re-sign next year. But if Devin White doesn’t show up for mini-camp and training camp, the Bucs have a few options that could replace White this season if they hold out. Or perhaps one of them could replace White in 2024 if the team decides not to re-sign their previous first-round pick.

Dennis is a very cerebral linebacker who is adept at both blitzing and falling into pass coverage. He totaled 15 sacks in his Pittsburgh career, including seven last year as a senior. Banks is a fast, athletic linebacker with speed from sideline to sideline and hits like a hammer. Both should make Tampa Bay’s 53-man roster this season.

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