Some thoughts on Greg White
There's been a lot of buzz today about Greg White and the news that he might demand a trade if he doesn't receive a new contract offer.
I'll say a couple of things to start: this is really, really premature. Secondly, I'm not sure going public with this was a wise move.
Now, I heard from White's agent, Jack Bechta, today and I was pleased to learn he at least has a pretty realistic understanding of the circumstances here. He admits that his client has little leverage here and is caught up in the system, which is no fault of the Bucs.
"Greg is in a tough situation," he said. "We are at the mercy of the court. The system is not beneficial nor fair to his situation."
Here's the problem with White. He entered the league at an advanced age, 28. Most players who enter the league as a late draft pick or a rookie free agent are several years younger. As a result, there isn't as much of a rush to cash in because they know free agency will come along while they're still young. For White, if the Bucs proceed as they are entitled to -- offering him minimum one-year deals as an exclusive-rights player until 2010 -- he won't reach free agency until he is 30. Who knows what value he'll have by then?
So, you can understand why he feels such urgency. Problem is, the Bucs can easily say that's not their problem. They gave him a chance in the NFL when no one seemed willing to, and they're paying him substantially more than he ever would have earned in the Arena Football League -- even if it is the league minimum. That said, they have about $25-million in cap space and could easily address this and several other contract disputes.
It's hard to say how this will all end. But I have a hard time seeing the Bucs responding kindly to a trade demand from a first-year player who hasn't ever been a full-time player. For everyone's sake, let's hope they can work this out.
Bechta thinks there's a chance.
"For now, we're being patient," he said. "I believe the front office is giving Greg some serious thought."