The Buffalo Bills boast an elite defense, and one of the biggest reasons why is because of their top cornerback. Prior to the 2019 season, the last Buffalo player to be named a First-Team All-Pro was defensive end Mario Williams in 2014.
Now, we’re not certain that the Bills’ most recent All-Pro will play in 2020. Thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, multiple players have decided to opt out of the season, and with familial obligations trumping professional ones, Buffalo’s lockdown top corner is contemplating sitting out the season.
In today’s edition of “91 players in 91 days,” we discuss the Bills’ best defensive player—an elite corner who is due for a boatload of money when his rookie contract expires.
Name: Tre’Davious White
Height/Weight: 5’11” 192 lbs
Age: 25 (26 on 1/16/2021)
Experience/Draft: 4; selected by Buffalo in the first round (No. 27 overall) of the 2017 NFL Draft
Acquired: First-round draft choice
Financial situation (per Spotrac): White enters the fourth year of his rookie deal, a pact worth a total of $10,091,110 overall. For the 2020 season, White carries a cap hit of $3,210,808. If White opts out of the season, then he will receive a $150,000 stipend off his 2021 salary, which would be the salary he was due this year. Essentially, his contract remains the same if he opts out—it just pushes back one year.
2019 Recap: If White wasn’t the best corner in the league, he was the second-best corner. By any measure, Tre was an elite player in his third full year, and he finally received the recognition he deserved. White co-led the league in interceptions, nabbing six passes thrown his way, and he broke up 17 passes on the year. He only allowed half the passes thrown his direction to be completed, and quarterbacks had a 45 passer rating when throwing at White. He also did not allow a touchdown all season. White recorded the first sack of his career to go with 58 total tackles. In the playoffs against the Houston Texans, White matched up against Deandre Hopkins, arguably the best receiver in the NFL, and completely shut down the stud wideout for the first half. Houston moved Hopkins to the slot in the second half in order to create more opportunities for him. White did allow one long grab to Hopkins in that game, but the fact remains that the Bills have one of the NFL’s best corners on their roster.
Positional outlook: White is the top dog in Buffalo’s secondary, with Josh Norman, Levi Wallace, Dane Jackson, Ike Brown, Cam Lewis, and Taron Johnson vying for roster spots alongside him.
2020 Offseason: Nothing much other than his uncertainty about playing in the season. He didn’t attend the defensive workouts in Virginia this offseason because he didn't want to travel during the pandemic.
2020 Season outlook: Buffalo needs Tre’Davious White. It’s that simple. The guy is an incredible player, and shutdown corners don’t grow on trees. I would never fault him for prioritizing his family and his health over football, so if he decides to opt out of the season, I will respect that decision entirely. Of course, as a fan, I want him to remain in the lineup, as the Bills are a top-three team in the AFC if White is on the field. If not, they’re a team that relies on a stout defense that doesn’t have its best coverage guy, and they’ll instead rely on a veteran reclamation project and a former UDFA who is an average CB2 to pick up the slack. That’s not a promising look at a secondary that just two weeks ago seemed to have too much talent. General manager Brandon Beane has done a great job acquiring depth, but most teams can’t withstand the loss of their truly elite players. When those players are not just elite for their roster, but elite as compared to the entire league, it makes the loss that much harder to absorb. As fans, we can only hope that White decides to play this year. As parents and just generally good human beings, we have to be respectful of the decision White makes if it doesn’t jive with the decision our fandom wants him to make.