Why Bucs (really) need to extend Lavonte David
Lavonte David and the Buccaneers are reportedly far apart in contract extension negotiations, and there is little reason for Tampa Bay fans to worry, as the team has until March 2016 to reach an extension or decide to use the franchise tag on him. With the team having just spent a significant amount of money to extend their other elite defender, defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, it’s understandable that David hasn’t been the top priority.
But make no mistake: The Bucs need to work out a deal to keep David in Tampa.
David is one of the most underrated players in the NFL, and one of the best true, off-ball 4-3 outside linebackers in the league. He has ranked in the top two in run-stop percentage in each of his three years. His 228 total defensive stops since 2012 are the most in the NFL, regardless of position, and are an astonishing 63 more than the next 4-3 OLB.
David’s position is one that doesn’t have as much value as it has in the past, especially with more sub-package use in recent years. However, he rarely comes off the field, having played 96 percent of defensive snaps in his career. Thomas Davis, K.J. Wright, and Vontaze Burfict have recently received extensions to make them among the highest-paid players at the position, and David has proven that he is worth as much (if not more). The Bucs simply cannot afford to lose him.