Another staple of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Super Bowl LV championship team is likely to follow in Tom Brady's footsteps and depart the franchise in 2023. Now, it's longtime captain and the heartbeat of their defense, linebacker Lavonte David, according to NFL Media. Given that the Buccaneers currently have the fewest amount of cap space in the NFL at -$49.1 million, according to OverTheCap.com, the 33-year-old former Pro Bowler and All-Pro may not receive the contract he's looking for or be willing to take part in a rebuild.
David has racked up the second-most tackles in the entire NFL since being selected in the second round of the 2012 NFL Draft out of Nebraska. He joins Bobby Wagner as two of the top available players at the inside linebacker position on the free agency market, making him a desirable add for a number of contending teams. Below, check out some of the intriguing landing spots that could be available to the Super Bowl champion now that he's free to sign with a team of his choice.
Most tackles since 2012
*Free agents this offseason
The Eagles have numerous holes to fill on their defense ahead of the 2023 season since they have two starting linebackers -- T.J. Edwards and Kyzir White -- both starting safeties -- C.J. Gardner Johnson and Marcus Epps -- second-team All-Pro cornerback James Bradberry, and most of their interior defensive linemen -- Fletcher Cox, Javon Hargrave, Linval Joseph and Ndamukong Suh -- set to become free agents next week. With just under $4 million in cap space to play with at the moment, signing a seasoned vet in David would give Philadelphia one of the league's most reliable tacklers and a phenomenal role model for all the defensive players the Eagles are set to draft in April. He would keep the defending NFC champions' defense on the same page despite a likely tidal wave of change this offseason.
New York Jets
This signing is contingent on Gang Green completing a trade for Green Bay Packers future Hall of Famer Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers used to say something along the lines of "players don't come to Green Bay for vacation, they come to play with me." Rodgers' arrival in Florham Park would make Robert Saleh's Jets, the team with the NFL's fourth-ranked scoring defense at 18.6 points per game, a legit playoff contender. There's also a need there since two starting linebackers, Quincy Williams and Kwon Alexander, are set to become free agents. David likely only wants to play for teams with the chance to make noise in the postseason, so joining forces with Rodgers would probably be tantalizing for him. Especially since the last future Hall of Fame quarterback that he teamed up with who wore the No. 12 jersey helped lead his team to Super Bowl glory in their first season together.
Miami would be an easy move for the longtime Tampa resident, especially since the Dolphins just signed one of the NFL's top defensive minds Vic Fangio to be their new defensive coordinator. Miami almost toppled Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills in western New York despite playing with a third-string rookie quarterback in Skylar Thompson. Should Tua Tagovailoa have better health this season after completing some martial arts training, the Dolphins could continue to soar with Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle leaving defenders in the dust. Living in South Florida and competing in the playoffs is a nice sales pitch for David.