Lavonte David is set to become one of the top linebackers to hit the open market, which the Super Bowl champion has been keeping in the back of his mind as he's closing in on free agency. David wants to remain with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- and the feeling is mutual -- but even he knows that's not a guarantee.
"There's lot of things to take into consideration," David said on SiriusXM NFL Radio Friday. "There's a lot of guys who were on this team who want to come back. The organization obviously got some big decisions to make, but from my honest end, everybody wants to come back. Everybody wants to try to come back. A great nucleus, a great core group we have."
Tampa Bay has a projected $11,983,733 in salary cap space (per Over The Cap) and David remains a priority on the defense. The Buccaneers also have Shaquil Barrett and Ndamukong Suh as defensive starters to take care of in free agency, and Chris Godwin, Rob Gronkowski, and Antonio Brown on the offensive side of the ball. That's a lot of players to try to retain, and David doesn't want to be the odd man out.
Once free agency starts, the offers will come for David -- who joins Ray Lewis as the only players in NFL history with 1,000-plus tackles, 20 sacks and 10 interceptions through his first eight seasons. David is second in the NFL in tackles (1,123), first in solo tackles (804), and fourth in forced fumbles (24) since 2012 -- his rookie season.
David is set to get paid in free agency, which makes the whole experience an unknown.
"I don't know what to expect. I just go with the flow," David said. "I've got some stuff that kind of keeps my mind off of that. That's obviously just being a Super Bowl champion. ... I've just been sitting back and enjoying this."