Even before the offseason began general manager Jason Licht called Lavonte David’s contract extension a top priority for the Buccaneers. However, it may take a little while before the two sides reach an agreement .
According Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times, David and the Buccaneers are still far apart in their negotiations. The holdup has likely more to do with the lack of market value that’s been set for 4-3 outside linebackers.
“The one thing I don’t want lost is that we do realize Lavonte is one of the elite (outside) linebackers in the league,” Licht said Thursday. “He’s a cornerstone player and he should be rewarded for his outstanding play and what he means to this organization… We just need to find common ground.”
While Kansas City Chief’s star Justin Houston set a new bar last week for 3-4 linebackers at $100 million, top 4-3 outside linebackers don’t tend to get the same recognition. For example, Cincinnati’s Vontaze Burfict and Carolina’s Thomas Davis recently signed extensions worth around $6-9 million a year. Although, in Burfict’s case, the money is front loaded due to past off-field issues that make the Bengals hesitant to commit to a long-term deal. And in Davis’ case, the 32-year old signed a two-year extension through 2017 in June worth up to $14 million that’s added to his cap hit of $5.9 million in 2015.
Because David doesn’t have an injury or off-field history like Burfict, and is seven years younger than Davis, he likely has leverage for demanding a longer extension with $6-7 million spread over each year. As Rick Stroud pointed out, the highest paid 4-3 outside linebacker in the NFL was 49ers’ star Patrick Willis, who signed a five-year, $50 million extension in 2010 that included a $15.5 million signing bonus and $20.3 million guaranteed. David could be looking for something in between Willis’ and Burfict’s deal.
Currently, David is set to make $758,418 in the final year of his rookie contract that includes a $125,000 workout bonus. For a player who’s led the team in tackles all three seasons (second in the league in that span) and is recognized as one of the NFL’s premiere outside linebackers, David will ultimately cash in on a new deal, no matter if it happens before camp or sometime during the season.
“It may seem a little complicated right now,” Licht said, “But we’re sure this is going to get done.”
Zach is entering his 3rd year covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a writer for PewterReport.com. Since 2014, he's handled a large part of the beat reporting responsibilities at PR, attending all media gatherings and publishing and promoting content daily. Zach is a native of Sarasota, FL, and a graduate of the University of Tampa. He has also covered high school football for the Tampa Tribune and the NFL for Pro Player Insiders.
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That’s wild that David won’t even make 800 grand next year! What is most impressive is that you have never heard of there even being a possibility of him holding out etc etc. He just comes to work! There isn’t a doubt in my mind that he will be taken care of because he is the type of football player that every organization strives to have on their team.
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He’ll get taken care of, but will he think so? The fact is 3-4 backers who rack up sacks get paid more. David I believe hurt himself by not having any picks with splash play touch downs. He’s a tackling machine, but could Kwon Alexander also do that? The Bucs might think so.
Well surfer my friend last year he didn’t have too many splash plays but you have to look at the whole body of work. His first three years are significantly better then even the great Derrick brooks. Heck 2 years ago he was the only linebacker in history with 5 picks and 5 sacks in the same season. He’s worth top dollar no doubt.
Bucs should have locked David in mid season last year and they would have saved millions. I have no clue what they were waiting for because now they’ll pay more. They have no problem blowing millions on other players that aren’t even on the team anymore, but are slow pokes with David and Dotson; go figure?
PAY THE MAN! Get him locked up like we did with GMC last season and it will pay dividends for many years to come. Go Bucs!
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