With talks about a new contract apparently not going anywhere last spring, ESPN's Jenna Laine reported Buccaneers' linebacker Devin White was "fed up" with his situation in Tampa Bay and had asked for a trade.
At the time the Detroit Lions were on a Bleacher Report list of the potential landing spots or White, which was easy to dismiss. He ultimately was not traded, before the season or before the Nov. 1 trade deadline, as he plays out the final year of his contract.
White will miss a second straight game with a foot injury this week. He has been fairly productive in 11 games this season though (69 total tackles, two sacks, three pass breakups), and he should find a solid market for his services come March. But it's worth wondering if Warren Sapp's allegation of poor effort from a game last season will follow him to the open market, or if things like that have shown up on tape this season.
Devin White easily tabbed as a bad fit for Detroit Lions in 2024 free agency
Looking toward free agency in March, linebacker is not in line to be a top need for the Lions. Alex Anzalone will be heading into the second year of a three-year deal, coming off the best season of his career if he finishes it out. Jack Campbell has first-round draft capital attached to him, so he's likely to be a starter from the get-go next year. Derrick Barnes will have one more year left on his rookie deal, and Malcolm Rodriguez will be in the mix. If anyone is added, it will be for depth and not someone to start or play a lot if others are healthy.
To put it more precisely, they will not be playing in the end of the 2024 free agent linebacker market White will occupy.
So Alex Ballentine of Bleacher Report naming the Lions as the worst free agency fit for White was easy.
The Lions might see White as a player who could take their defense to the next level. He would be paired with 2023 first-round pick Jack Campbell, but he has had his own struggle in pass coverage, giving up a 134.5 passer rating this season.
To make the fit even worse, Detroit is just middle-of-the-road when it comes to blitz rate. The Lions are a good team that should be attractive to free agents, but White shouldn't be one of them.
Ballentine apparently completely forgot about Anzalone, who again is having the best year of his career and the Lions love. Campbell, Barnes, Rodriguez and the possibly bringing back of Jalen Reeves-Maybin fortifies their linebacker depth for next year.
White will command a better contract than the Lions would consider paying him. There are questions about his coverage ability, and maybe his effort. Leaving the side of Lavonte David in Tampa will be a concern.
So White is not a fit for the Lions in 2024 free agency, to the point it probably didn't need to be highlighted as such.