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Buccaneers assistant coach Larry Foote says LB Devin White's contract concerns are 'champagne problems'

Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Devin White's trade request was never going to be honored by the club. White wants a long-term contract as he enters the final year of his rookie contract, but assistant coach Larry Foote, a former 13-year veteran, downplayed the contract squabble.

"Well, he's not going to be the first (making such a demand), and he's not going to be the last. We know that," Foote said on Wednesday. "Like I told him, he gets paid $11 million this year -- those are champagne problems."

Foote noted that he'd like White to be at the voluntary workouts, but based on the depth of the linebacker's experience, it's not the end of the world for him to miss this portion of the offseason. Foote also noted that the standoff concerns contract details, not on-field issues with the staff or scheme.

"It's money," Foote said. "You're looking out at the guaranteed money, and he wants his money now. He has to understand the organization is preparing for next year, so we have to meet somewhere in the middle.

"I don't know how it's going to play out. They picked up his fifth-year option. A lot of players, they don't get that option. But it's money, and I understand that. Like I said, he's not the first and he's not going to be the last. It's part of the game."

White is set to make $11.706 million on the fifth-year option. From the Bucs' perspective, that's the ninth-highest cash figure for an off-ball linebacker in 2023. But for White, it lacks long-term security. The LB market wasn't kind this offseason, with only Tremaine Edmunds and Bobby Okereke signing for $10-plus million per year in free agency.

White earned a Pro Bowl nod in 2021 but has been on a roller coaster ride after being the No. 5 overall pick in 2019, struggling mightily at times last season. But head coach Todd Bowles stuck with the athletic tackler through it all.

Despite the 25-year-old having starting 62 games over his career, Foote identified areas where White could improve to earn that next long-term contract.

"Everything. Just get better," Foote said. "Pre-snap stuff. Zone coverage. Even blitzing better. Attacking the run. In the offseason, you want to look at any plays, explosive plays, that you gave up and we want to minimize that. Just little things, new ideas that we're putting in.

"Every year you have to be better than the next year. This league demands it. So far, during (White's) short career, he's been evolving."

Perhaps a big season will lead to a significant long-term contract for White. Then the LB can pop champagne bottles.

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