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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have agreed to terms on a one-year deal to bring back star linebacker Lavonte David, according to multiple reports.
NFL Network has the one-year pact worth $7 million for the 33-year-old.
With Tom Brady moving on from Tampa Bay, the Bucs find themselves in a bit of a rebuild situation after winning it all three seasons ago. But that didn’t deter David from staying with the only team he’s ever known in the NFL.
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New Orleans Saints quarterback Jameis Winston sacked by Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Lavonte David during the first half of an NFL football game in New Orleans, Sunday, Sept. 18, 2022. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)
David has been with the Bucs since 2012 when the team drafted him in the second round out of Nebraska. The Miami native felt right at home with them as he quickly made his mark as a starting linebacker right from the start.
He started with 139 tackles, one interception and two sacks in his rookie season, starting all 16 games that year. Then, he followed it up with three straight seasons of 145 tackles or more.
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David was a first-team All-Pro in 2013 after he totaled 145 tackles, five interceptions, two forced fumbles and 10 passes defended. His speed and aggression made it extremely hard for opponents to make him miss in the open field, and it’s a quality to his game that hasn’t diminished.
Last season with the Bucs, David had 124 tackles, three sacks, five passes defended and one forced fumble in all 17 games. And during the team’s Super Bowl year in 2020, David was a second-team All-Pro member with 117 tackles and three forced fumbles.
Lavonte David #54 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers reacts with teammates after getting a fumble recovery in the fourth quarter against the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC Divisional Playoff game at Raymond James Stadium on January 23, 2022 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
So, the production is certainly still there and David remains the veteran leader on a linebacking corps that includes Shaq Barrett and Devin White.
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The Bucs also made their move at quarterback, signing former first-overall pick Baker Mayfield to a one-year deal. He didn’t pan out with the Carolina Panthers in 2022 after being traded by the Cleveland Browns, and then he was moved to the Los Angeles Rams in the second half of the season.
It was there that Mayfield showcased some clutch play, and perhaps the Bucs are hoping to find more of that in the Sunshine State.
Lavonte David #54 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers reacts after the Tampa Bay Buccaneers recovered a fumble during the fourth quarter against the Carolina Panthers at Raymond James Stadium on January 1, 2023 in Tampa, Florida. (Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)
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David has played in 166 regular-season games, starting in all of them, tallying 1,346 tackles, 29 sacks, 12 interceptions, 27 forced fumbles and 143 tackles for loss.
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