Since being released by the Buccaneers earlier this week, Gerald McCoy has received his fair share of interest from about a quarter of the league’s teams. Once Tampa Bay quickly signed Ndamukong Suh as his replacement, the veteran defensive tackle became arguably the most impactful free agent left on the market.
It’s not hard to see why the nine-year veteran is receiving so much attention. Since entering the league in 2010, the Oklahoma product has earned six Pro Bowl selections and a First Team All-Pro nod (2013) while recording at least five sacks in every season since 2012. He is the only defensive tackle who can make that claim.
The list of teams interested in McCoy’s service is a long one that includes the Browns, Ravens, Panthers, Colts, Bengals, Saints, Falcons and Patriots, who have reportedly pulled out of the running recently. As of this writing, only the Browns and Ravens have been linked to visits. According to reports, McCoy is more interested in playing for a contender and making the playoffs for the first time in his career than a pay day.
His fit in Cleveland would be an intriguing one. That would mean the Browns would roll out a defensive line that would feature McCoy, Myles Garrett, Olivier Vernon and Sheldon Richardson. That is one formidable front four. The Browns have been connected to McCoy for some time, but they decided against trading for the defensive tackle while he was under contract for $13MM in the upcoming season. After his Bucs release, the Browns might be able to sign him at a lesser rate without giving up any draft capital.
Staying in the AFC North, Baltimore would provide McCoy a contender as the reigning division champs and a loaded defense to work in. In 2018, Baltimore allowed the fewest yards and the second-fewest points in the league, and would become even better on paper with the addition of McCoy.
Drew Brees is making his own pitch for McCoy to join the Saints. “He’s a stud, he’s a great player,” Brees said this week. “I mean you’re basically asking me if I would love having a Pro Bowl defensive tackle that I’ve spent the last eight years trying to run around and avoid, not have hit me, join our team. Yeah, of course.” McCoy would team with the recently signed Malcom Brown up the middle for a team considered by many to be a Super Bowl frontrunner in 2019.
The Colts have the cap space to sign McCoy and have been relatively quiet so far this offseason. The longtime star would fill an immediate role as a leader on a young and up-and-coming defensive unit that features the reigning Defensive Rookie of the Year Darius Leonard.
Both the Panthers and Falcons have little in the way of cap room to sign McCoy, but that hasn’t stopped the NFC South squads from readying their pitches for the six-time Pro Bowler.
The Bengals are also interested in McCoy, but they are arguably the furthest away from competing for a playoff spot among the other teams listed. Though pairing McCoy with fellow standout Geno Atkins up the middle would instantly propel Cincinnati into the conversation in the AFC North.
So which team will be the one to land the impact defensive tackle? Is it one of the squads already rumored to be interested, or will a mystery team emerge and secure McCoy’s signature? Vote in the poll (link for app users) and let us know your thoughts in the comment section.
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