June 17, 2024

He deserve all the respect, Buccaneers defend a veteran who has been underrated

The theme of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ offseason to date has been taking care of their own.

Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht came out of the chute swinging, signing All-Pro wide receiver Mike Evans to a deal that should keep him in Tampa Bay for the remainder of his career, and followed it up by ensuring it will be quarterback Baker Mayfield throwing him passes for at least the life of that deal. Defensively,

Mike Evans makes decision on NFL future | DAZN News US

But, an underrated signing by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is the commitment made to one of the franchise’s stalwart leaders and more consistently dominant linebackers in the NFL, Lavonte David.

David cashed in on a $9 million contract, on the heels of producing a career-high 134 tackles, at the age of 34, with 4.5 sacks during a stellar 2023 campaign where he was a driving force behind the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ success on defense down the stretch and into the postseason.

“Lavonte David is the poster child of what the NFL is all about,” a league source familiar with how the Tampa Bay Buccaneers view David, tells me. “He’s been the cornerstone of the Buccaneers for 12 years. If you play great, you deserve to get paid great.”

PFF Has High Praise for Tampa Bay Buccaneers Lavonte David Deal

David has been a cornerstone to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ franchise, and Licht paid him as such, not just as a reward for past success but also on the belief that there is still plenty left in the tank for the 13-year-veteran. Pro Football Focus echoes that sentiment, giving the deal an “A+” for David’s scheme fit and filling a need, as well as an “A” on the value of the contract.

“To be clear on the projection here,” Brad Spielberger writes for PFF. “We were merely reacting to David taking a super team-friendly discount last year. His play warrants this contract and then some in this linebacker market, even in his early 30s. David continues to be one of the more underrated players of this era.”

The return of Lavonte David means the Bucs won't have a huge hole at  linebacker next year | Tampa | Creative Loafing Tampa Bay

During the most prolific and disruptive season of his career, David garnered a strong 73.4 overall grade from Pro Football Focus. Ranking as the outlet’s 28th out of 72 linebackers and holding opposing quarterbacks to a 93.6 passer rating underscoring his versatility of being a disruptive force playing downhill as well as in coverage.

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