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Buccaneers GM Jason Licht says team has 'no intention' of trading LB Devin White after recent request

Devin White's recent trade request will not be fulfilled, at least not as of now.

Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht said as much Thursday when speaking with reporters ahead of the 2023 NFL Draft, telling them he has "no intention" of moving White.

"I have all the respect in the world for Devin," Licht said. "He's done some great things for us as a player, and we look forward to more from him in the future, so he's on our team. We are looking forward to this season. We are gearing up for this season with the draft right now, free agency, and, you know, looking forward to him being a part of this team. If he has the kind of year that we all think he's capable of, we can hopefully put this to rest, and everybody's happy."

White's career has included a trip to the Pro Bowl and a stellar performance during Tampa Bay's run to a Super Bowl LV victory, but on a per-game basis, he hasn't been an elite defender. Still, Licht values White for what he brings to the Buccaneers, especially alongside veteran Lavonte David, whom Licht was able to retain this offseason.

He knows it's not as simple as drafting and inserting a replacement.

"You know, we've, it's going back a few years, we've come very close to taking inside linebackers probably because we know the depth of that position and how important it is not to necessarily replace Devin and Lavonte in the last few years at all," Licht explained. "You know, you can never just, the last few years, depth has proven to be one of the things that has been related to our success winning the Super Bowl so we're never not looking at the middle linebackers or the inside linebackers.

"This year, I wouldn't say that there's always some good players at every position at every draft. I wouldn't say that's a strength of this draft. But yes, we're always looking and if it's the right time, at the right place, the right fit, we wouldn't be afraid to take one, no."

It sounds as if Licht isn't interested in finding White's replacement, especially just to satisfy White's desire to play elsewhere. The Buccaneers have greater priorities, including finding a long-term solution at quarterback. They have Baker Mayfield on the roster for 2023, but he's far from a guarantee at this stage in his career.

Tampa Bay isn't currently in line to select one of the top two -- possibly even top three -- quarterbacks in this class. Kentucky's Will Levis remains an intriguing option who could be available when the Buccaneers are on the clock at 19, but unless they move up, they might not be in a position to find their signal-caller of the future.

Still, that doesn't mean Licht is eliminating the position from consideration. As all GMs will say at this stage of the pre-draft process, everything is on the table at every position.

"It's the toughest position to find," Licht said. "It's the most important position on the team. You know, you see teams that, in consecutive years, take them in the top 10. We have a known in Kyle (Trask), we have Baker, who's had some great years, and now we're hoping that he shows up here this year in that competition and that we get the best out of one of them or both of them. But I would not be afraid to take a quarterback, another quarterback, because might as well have another shot at it, so maybe not this year, but maybe in the future."

Everything is up in the air right now -- except White's status with the team. Unless a team makes an undeniable offer for him, the linebacker will be with the Buccaneers in 2023.

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