The former LSU cornerback has become a dominating force for the Bills on defense. In three years in the blue and red, White has amassed 12 interceptions and 43 passes defended. His six interceptions last season were tied for the league lead with Stephon Gilmore and Anthony Harris.
Going into his final year of a four-year, $10 million contract, White is looking to get paid. But will the Bills give him the money that he deserves? Let us dive into the positives and negatives of extending take away Tre.
Shut it down
Diving into Tre’s stats, he has become one of the best defensive players in the NFL. Since entering the league in 2017, the fifth cornerback taken off the board has shown why he was worth picking. Comparing White to Marshon Lattimore, the first cornerback taken in the 2017 draft, White stats are stronger. White has four more career interceptions (12) than Lattimore (8) and more tackles (145 vs. 137). White has had four more career games (47) than Lattimore (43), but think about who each player goes against each year.
White has had to deal with some of the best wideouts in the league, including DeAndre Hopkins, Julio Jones, and T.Y. Hilton. In two games against Hopkins, White has held him under 100 yards each time. Julio had only 30 yards on three catches in their only matchup in 2017. And Hilton had only 20 yards on two catches in their 2017 matchup. White also leads all cornerbacks in passer rating allowed (60.3) since the start of the 2017 season.
Who could not love a player who has been out and about in the community, especially during the cold months? For White, it is nothing different. The cornerback is always active on social media and interacting with fans. In April, White defended the fanbase when Jalen Ramsey suggested that the cornerback leave Buffalo for a bigger market. After Ramsey said that Buffalo has one of the best fan bases, White corrected him, saying “We got the best fan base.”
White has done other numerous things for Buffalo, including visiting children in hospitals and giving out turkey dinners before Thanksgiving. Also, White created a movement for all the former hockey goalies around: the Tre White Goalie Academy. T-shirts, hats, and jerseys flow through the city of Buffalo, as Bills Mafia has fully embraced the brand.
But it is his interactions with fans that make it worthwhile. Going to training camp at St. John Fisher College in Pittsford, N.Y, players often sign for fans after practice. After the cooldown, White won’t leave until everyone is satisfied with a selfie, autograph or a high five.
Playing one of the most physically demanding sports in the world can take a toll on an athlete’s body. However, Tre’Davious White has stayed relatively healthy as a member of the Bills. Since he entered the league, White has not missed a single game due to injury. He has had minor injuries along the way, including a shoulder injury last season against the Steelers and a leg contusion during the 2017 preseason. But, White’s health has been a part of a team-wide success since Sean McDermott was named head coach in 2017.
The Patrick Mahomes talk
Remember how the Buffalo Bills acquired Tre’Davious White in the 2017 NFL Draft? Buffalo traded the10th overall pick to the Chiefs for the 27th and 91st overall picks in the draft plus a 2018 first-round pick. For everyone in Buffalo, it was a shock as that 2017 team needed to fill holes. But the added draft capital made the trade worth it. That is until Patrick Mahomes, a mobile quarterback out of Texas Tech, came to play. After sitting behind Alex Smith for a year, Mahomes threw for 5,097 yards and 50 touchdowns in 2018, clinching his first MVP. Then in his third season, Mahomes led the Chiefs to their first Super Bowl in franchise history with a 31-20 win over the 49ers.
Now, nobody would have known that Mahomes would have turned out to be such a star. But it makes Bills fans think what could have been if Patty Mahomes was calling Buffalo home instead of Kansas City.
Since the early 1990s, it is unfortunate that Buffalo has become known as a city of losses. Losing four-straight super bowls was the beginning of heartbreak for the Bills faithful. Add a Stanley Cup loss from the Sabres in 1999 and a seventeen-year Bills playoff drought to the list. We have not had much to celebrate in Western New York.
Also, Buffalo has become known as the 1:00 p.m. timeslot team that some people forget is on television. While the New England Patriots have 3-4 primetime games, Buffalo is lucky to get one. This hurts White in a way, as he is not able to show his worth in front of a primetime audience. It does not help that Buffalo has had only four winning records since 2000.
The Stephon Gilmore Comparison
This is positive or negative for White. The comparison has ramped up in the past year, as both have been 1 or 2 in local and national rankings. But, in my opinion, White still has more to prove than Gilmore. White is Gilmore’s replacement, who left Buffalo after a pro-bowl season to sign a five-year deal with the Patriots. Gilmore already has a Super Bowl ring with the Pats, three pro-bowl nods, and two all-pros in eight years. Gilmore also has seven postseason games under his belt.
Going into his fourth year, White has one all-pro, a pro-bowl nod, and one playoff game in his pocket. White is five years younger than Gilmore, but both players are currently in their prime. Last season, the two were toe to toe in all defensive statistics. Gilmore won the passes defensed battle (20 vs. 17), while White won the tackles battle (58 vs. 53). Both corners each had six interceptions. I am not a fan of player comparisons and I think both players should be evaluated separately.
Verdict and Prediction
Overall, White has proven that he deserves a second contract for the Bills. Buffalo picked up his fifth-year option on April 22nd, which is a move in the right direction for both sides. But it may take a little bartering if Buffalo wants to keep their all-pro corner. Gilmore left Buffalo for $40 million guaranteed with the Patriots over five years. Plus, with the 2021 free agency class highlighted by Patrick Peterson and Jalen Ramsey, McDermott and Brandon Beane shouldn’t wait until the market value is set.
I think the Bills will resign White to a five-year contract extension, but the money may be a different story. And with Josh Allen and Tremaine Edmunds coming up on potential contract extensions, White may need to take a hometown discount.
Contract: Five years, $75 million with $50 million guaranteed.
This may seem a bit high with the amount of key players Buffalo may sign back, such as Matt Milano and Dion Dawkins. Buffalo has over $171 million in cap space for 2021, so they could afford to spend high on White. They may need to save some to go after a 2021 free agent, such as Alvin Kamara or Yannick Ngakoue.
If Buffalo wants to continue their defensive dominance, McDermott and Beane must keep their lockdown corner on the payroll.