NFL Free Agency Primer: Lavonte David

The regular season has come to a close, and most teams have already begun the complicated process of preparing for the 2023 season. In the coming months, we'll be covering the impending free agents most capable of shifting the balance of power in the NFL.

The Player: Lavonte David

A long-time leader and a Super Bowl champion, Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Lavonte David offers singular ability as a coverage linebacker and a commanding veteran presence. Even at 33 years old, the veteran hasn't shown any hints of decline: he started 17 games for the Bucs and led the team in solo tackles with 80. As the NFL skews more and more heavily towards high-volume passing attacks, his rare skillset, versatility, and durability will only become more valuable.

The Fit:

David would be perfect for a team that desperately needs a general on the field for their defense. He's this season's Bobby Wagner; there shouldn't be any question of whether or not he's still capable of contributing, but his advanced age means he doesn't really belong on a rebuilding franchise. The Buccaneers are the only home he has ever known and the sides may have mutual loyalty, but he would also be a good fit for a team who believes a poor defense kept them from contending in 2022. The Miami Dolphins, Los Angeles Chargers, and Detroit Lions could all feasibly benefit from his presence.

The Cost:

The Bucs are way over the 2023 salary cap, and David probably doesn't merit the franchise tag, so he'll likely hit unrestricted free agency. He deserves a deal similar to the last one he signed with the Bucs (two years, $25 million) in 2021 or the contract Bobby Wagner signed last year with the Los Angeles Rams (five years, $50 million).  

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