Devin White, one of five unsigned first-rounders, agrees to rookie deal with Buccaneers

Ben WeinribYahoo Sports Contributor
Yahoo Sports

Nearly three months after being selected fifth overall, linebacker Devin White agreed to terms with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on his rookie deal, the team announced Saturday.

White was one of five unsigned first-round picks, joined by fellow first-rounders Nick BosaQuinnen WilliamsDaniel Jones and Brian Burns.

The timing is especially key since Bucs training camp begins on Thursday — with rookies reporting Sunday — and unsigned players may not participate. White has already appeared at team practices at minicamp and OTAs.

Like all first-round picks, White’s deal runs four years and includes a fifth-year team option. Length and dollars are not negotiable under the CBA; what is includes offset language that could prevent White from accessing all of his guaranteed money.

Notably, four of the past five unsigned rookies — Williams is the exception — are represented by CAA. The agency represents a lot of top athletes and has made a point to get as much guaranteed money as possible.

Fifth overall pick Devin White signed his rookie deal with the Buccaneers. (Getty Images)
Fifth overall pick Devin White signed his rookie deal with the Buccaneers. (Getty Images)

The longest holdout in last year’s draft class was Chicago Bears linebacker Roquan Smith, who missed training camp when he held out until mid-August. In 2016, No. 2 overall pick Joey Bosa held out until the fourth preseason game. What do they have in common? They’re also represented by CAA and wanted guaranteed money with less offset language.

Rookies are smart to worry about teams quibbling over a few hypothetical dollars, especially at a high-impact position like starting middle linebacker. Even if they avoid injuries or penalties, there’s always the possibility of teams taking away money just because. The Jacksonville Jaguars voided $7.1 million in guarantees for running back Leonard Fournette in January because of “disrespectful, selfish” behavior on the sideline.

Fortunately for all parties involved here, White will be able to suit up in training camp and avoid any more tension. With a shift to a 3-4 defense under new coordinator Todd Bowles, White’s development will be critical to the team’s short- and long-term success.

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