Local Tampa Bay sports show host Tom (TKras) Krasniqi ruffled some feathers this morning with what many took as an outlandish idea that something big was brewing with the Buccaneers. Fans weren’t too pleased with the comment found in the tweet below and reacted as many would expect, wildly out of control. But what if the team did contemplate a decision like this? After all, many have felt Gerald McCoy is on his way out due to a combination of age and salary. So why not David?
Lavonte David is the premier linebacker in Tampa Bay and has been so since his arrival out of Nebraska. Taking a quick look at his contract can quickly explain why such a comment from Krasniqi would seem feasible, with zero dead cap if cut, David essentially clears $ 10 million in cap space on his own if cut ($9.75m to be exact). David is nearing age 30 and if the team were going all out rebuild, his age and contract would certainly make him a potential cap casualty for a team looking to go young and accepting lesser play at the linebacker position. In Tampa Bay however, that isn’t the case as Bruce Arians and Todd Bowles are looking to come in and turn things around quickly.
David returned to form a bit this past season as a multidimensional defender. David was again getting into the opposing teams backfield, as evidenced by his 4 sacks, 3 QB hits and 3 hurries. In a defense under Todd Bowles now that will heavily favor pressuring with the blitz and moving it’s linebackers around, David is the exact weapon this staff should be looking to use behind the defensive line. David’s production and veteran presence should negate the idea of the team cutting him however the contract situation does potentially give the team some leverage to potentially pressure David and his agent into a restructured deal at a lower cost to help the team as it heads into this free agency period.
Another angle to think about is the realistic possibility that the staff has reviewed all of the film and determined that Kwon Alexander (should he be re-signed) can lead an interior linebacking group without Lavonte David. David is an undersized outside linebacker and with the team presumably moving to a 3-4 dominant scheme, David is vastly undersized by typical standards for an interior linebacker in most 3-4 base defenses. A look at the Jets roster though could potentially dispell this as a theory, especially for a team that went out and nabbed themselves a guy in Darron Lee, who like Lavonte David, was considered a bit undersized at the time. Lee of course, has paled in comparison to Lavonte David from a statistical stand point over the past few seasons.
Whatever the Buccaneers decide to do when it comes to the teams salary cap, the way they handle it will be interesting. With an exciting feel to this off-season with the hire of Arians and company, it’s quite possible that some of the veterans are willing to work around some figures to ensure they are here in Tampa Bay to help turn this ship around and set sail into the playoffs once again. It would be tough to see this team turn things around without the likes of Gerald McCoy and Lavonte David, both of whom have dealt with turmoil on defense with a slew of bad coaches and poor results. McCoy and David have earned their right to call their own future and both deserve to be here for this potential turnaround year under Bruce Arians’ guidance.