Tampa Bay Buccaneers Pro Bowl inside linebacker Devin White requested a trade on Tuesday afternoon. According to ESPN’s Jenna Laine, White is “fed up” and frustrated with the team. The 25-year-old White is entering the final year of his rookie contract and has a cap hit of $11.7 million.
The Buccaneers reportedly do not have the desire to trade the star linebacker but with White being unhappy the possibility of a trade looms.
White recorded 114 total tackles, six sacks, and two forced fumbles last season for the Buccaneers.
Coming off a year where the Steelers inside linebackers caused zero turnovers, White would step in and be an instant upgrade for at least one season. White’s future contract is rumored to be in the $100 million dollar range. The hefty contracts that exist on the Steelers’ defense would make an extension with White tough to swing.
The argument for the Steelers to trade for White is that the team has lacked high-end talent at the inside linebacker position ever since the days of Ryan Shazier and entered the offseason with a massive need there again. A trade for a high-profile player such as White is not how Steelers do business but the team has dished out resources for that position in the past.
The Steelers hoped to replace Shazier’s talent after trading up to pick No. 10 in the 2019 NFL Draft to select Devin Bush.
After failing to stay on the field and meet expectations in his first four seasons, the Steelers declined the fifth-year option on Bush’s rookie contract before letting him leave in free agency for the Seattle Seahawks.
The Steelers also decided to cut veteran Myles Jack, after signing him in free agency last offseason. Jack joined the list of failed experiments at the inside linebacker spot for the Steelers. Since 2017, the veteran inside linebackers that the Steelers have picked up and then cut or let go include Jon Bostic, Mark Barron, Joe Schobert, Avery Williamson, and now Myles Jack.
White struggled last season after dominating the league in his first three seasons. The Steelers may shy away from a player that needs a bounce-back after Jack failed to return to his previous form last season.
While the need for more help at inside linebacker is apparent, the Steelers addressed the position in free agency with the signings of Cole Holcomb and Elandon Roberts. Both Holcomb (66.6) and Roberts (57.1) finished with higher PFF scores than White (45.5) last season.
The Steelers only have $9.8 million left in cap space and would need to make more moves if the team were to trade for White. After all of the restructures and cuts the team has made to this point, that seems unlikely to happen.
The Steelers hold last year’s rookie Mark Robinson in high regard as well. The possibility that the team still adds a rookie through the draft for depth exists but the team’s starters next season will be Holcomb and Roberts.
If White’s trade request came prior to free agency, the possibility of the Steelers acquiring the star linebacker would be substantially higher than they currently are.