PALM HARBOR — Whether Devin White sees himself as a proud athlete or savvy businessman by demanding a trade, it doesn’t matter. The Bucs are showing the type of consistency they want to see from their fifth-year linebacker.
On Monday night, coach Todd Bowles said the Bucs won’t trade White during the NFL draft and only hopes he will return to the team by the start of the 2023 season..
Unhappy that the team plans to make him play for a fifth-year option of $11.7 million in 2023, White has requested a trade from the Bucs because he has not received a long-term deal.
Two weeks ago, general manager Jason Licht said the Bucs would not trade White, and Bowles echoed that message.
“We got him onboard another year like Jason Licht said,” Bowles said at an Arians Family Foundation event at Innisbrook. “We discussed it. We know we’re not trading him and we’ll go from there. We know it’s the offseason right now so nothing counts and we’re expecting him to be there when the season starts.”
Bowles has been one of White’s most vocal advocates, saying he makes plays that “I haven’t seen linebackers make in 30 years.”
White led the Bucs last season with 124 tackles and added 5.5 sacks. But he has been plagued by some inconsistent play and was criticized for appearing to loaf on a play against the Ravens last year.
The Bucs haven’t received any inquiries about the fifth overall pick in the 2019 draft, the Tampa Bay Times confirmed.
Further complicating matters is the fact that the Glazer family, which owns the Bucs, doesn’t want to guarantee $60 million of a five-year, $100 million contract similar to the one Ravens linebacker Roquan Smith signed with the Ravens in January.
Smith attended training camp with the Bears after requesting a trade but didn’t participate in practice. He was eventually dealt to the Ravens before the October trade deadline.
Bowles said he wasn’t sure whether White plans to attend the mandatory minicamp in June or even hold out of training camp.
“It will be up to him but we’ll coach the guys that are here,” Bowles said. “We’ve got a good crowd in right now and we’re happy everybody is coming to participate.
‘Things don’t stand anywhere. It’s the offseason and everything is voluntary so there’s really nothing to talk about at this time. But once you get into mandatory and the season starts, then you can talk about it.”
Bowles said about 90 percent of the Bucs players have been participating in the voluntary workout program that began two weeks ago.
That list includes both quarterbacks Baker Mayfield and Kyle Trask, who were participating in Arians’ golf tournament Tuesday morning.
“It’s been a great (quarterback) room so far,” Trask said. “Having (offensive coordinator Dave) Canales in there teaching us, I think me and Baker have been trying our hardest just learning the system as fast as we can. ... You always feel competition when you’re in the building but you have to play for yourself.”
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Former Bucs head coach Bruce Arians, who serves as a senior assistant to Licht, said he has some simple advice for White.
“Come on back, earn your money,” Arians said. “It’s there. Go earn it. That’s all you’ve got to say.”
If White does that, the Bucs say they would be happy to talk about a long-term extension. “No doubt,” Arians said.
Arians won’t be in Tampa much
Bowles wasn’t hired last year until March 30 and Arians spent his first season in the front office in Tampa, attending practices and even traveling with the team on occasion. But Arians said Monday that he probably did Bowles a disservice and won’t be around the team as much this season.
“It’s his footprint and that’s what it has to be,” Arians said of Bowles. “I think I might have been around too much last year. I’m not going to be around as much this year on purpose. Whatever the Bucs need I’m going to be there. Whatever Jason needs or Todd needs. But I’m going to step back and get out of the way.”
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