It was just a matter of time before Bucs linebacker Lavonte David got his payday.
That day came on Sunday afternoon when Tampa Bay recognized David as one of the best linebackers in the game, and paid him accordingly, even if many around the NFL are still learning how good he is.
David’s new deal is reported to be a five-year, $50.25 contract with $25.56 million guaranteed. David is entering the final year of his rookie deal after being a second-round selection in the 2012 NFL Draft and was slated to make $1.14 million in 2015.
Despite failing to make a Pro Bowl during his first three seasons in the league, the former Nebraska standout has put up better numbers than that of legendary Buc and Hall of Famer Derrick Brooks.
Through three seasons the Miami native has logged 430 tackles, 10 sacks, six interceptions, six forced fumbles, four pass breakups and a safety.
Recently Bucs head coach Lovie Smith talked about David.
“I think I’m on record… you can go back to any shot I’ve given on Lavonte David on how I feel about him,” Smith said. “And I feel the same way. That person and those fans who are thinking that way, no one loves him as much as I do.”
David spoke about the looming contract deal last week and didn’t sound worried about it getting done. He was correct.
“It’s really easy,” David said when asked if he can still concentrate without a new deal. “When you have a lot of time on your hands, you kind of (focus on) what’s going on outside. But once football starts, you get to focus and lock in on football.”
David’s new contract makes him the highest paid 4-3 linebacker in the NFL. Prior to the new contract Detroit’s DeAndre Levy was the highest paid 4-3 linebacker, with an average salary of $8.43 million per season, and Seattle’s K.J. Wright’s $6.75 million annual salary was second in the league.
The Buccaneers made the deal official with a 2 p.m. press conference Monday.
Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for PewterReport.com since 2011. Cook has followed the Buccaneers since 1977 when he first began watching football with his Dad and is fond of the 1979 Bucs team that came within 10 points of going to a Super Bowl. His favorite Bucs game is still the 1979 divisional playoff win 24-17 over the Eagles. In his spare time Cook enjoys playing guitar, fishing, surfing and family time at the beach. In addition, Cook can be found in front of a television or in Doak Campbell any time the FSU Seminoles are playing. Cook is a native of Pinecrest in Eastern Hillsborough County and has written for numerous publications including the Tampa Tribune, In the Field and Ya'll Magazine. Cook can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Finally locked in! Brooks 2.0 #SiegeTheDay!
Good news. Congratulations Lavonte.
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COngrats on your new Contract. You earned it. We are a better team with you locked in.
One of my favorite all time Buccaneers so glad I can watch him play for 5 more yrs
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To win in this league you got to have the good guys. To keep the good guys, you’ve got to pay them. And so we did! Congrats Lavonte. #bucforlife
Congratulations Lavonte! You deserve every penny. Go Bucs!
Gppd people get rewarded with good things. Congrats! Go Bucs!
This man comes to play, and is a good guy as well.
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