The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are trying to get a contract extension done with Lavonte David before training camp begins, but as usual, there’s quite a wide gulf between the two sides.
David is entering the fourth and final year of his rookie deal, which will earn him $3.5 million by the end of the contract. Obviously, he’s going to get a sweet raise, but possibly it’s his position and the team’s system on defense that’s causing all these stalls and “problems” in the negotiations.
The problem for David is that he’s an outside linebacker in the wrong system. He plays in a 4-3 defense, and only two 4-3 outside linebackers make more than $6.5 million a season (K.J. Wright and Thomas Davis). In a 3-4 defense there are 15 outside linebackers making more than $6.5 million, which means there’s quite a significant gap between what he’s asking for and what the Buccaneers, at the moment, are willing to pay.
David had a rough 2014 with just one sack compared to his All-Pro 2013, when he finished with 7 sacks and 5 interceptions, but his true value is probably somewhere in the middle of it all, and his numbers are suffering from playing in a system that doesn’t help wide linebackers pick up eye popping numbers.