Gerald McCoy‘s time in Buccaneers limbo will end with a release. The nine-year veteran has been informed he will be cut soon, according to Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times (on Twitter). The Bucs announced the release.
This has been a consideration for a while, but the team has finally decided on a course of action. The Bucs did not want to pay McCoy his $13MM 2019 salary, per Stroud, and did not find a trade partner. Trade talks commenced for two months, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. The team did not ask McCoy to take a pay cut.
McCoy will become one of the most attractive free agents on the market. Although, being released in mid-May does not do the longtime Bucs stalwart any favors. He will join fellow 2010 top-five defensive tackle pick Ndamukong Suh as a top-caliber free agent.
Though McCoy failed to make the Pro Bowl last season — his first such omission since 2011 — he still recorded six sacks and rated as one of Pro Football Focus’ upper-echelon interior defenders. McCoy also has avoided serious injuries, the six-time Pro Bowler having played in at least 14 games in each of the past seven seasons.
The signing bonus-averse Bucs will create $13MM in cap space; McCoy had three years remaining on a seven-year, $95.2MM contract. The Bucs currently possess barely $1MM and needed to make a move in order to finish up signing draft picks.
Of course, a Tampa Bay defense that was one of the NFL’s worst in 2018 now will be without its top two pass rushers. Jason Pierre-Paul will be out for a while after sustaining a neck injury in a recent car accident, and McCoy (54.5 career sacks; at least six in six straight seasons) will almost certainly sign elsewhere soon in advance of his age-31 season.
The Bucs used a 2018 first-round pick on Vita Vea and are moving to a 3-4 look after using a 4-3 scheme throughout McCoy’s career. Still, this now profiles as one of the NFL’s most pass rush-needy teams.
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